As a new parent, you constantly hear about baby-proofing. But I honestly think it’s a poorly named idea. Babies aren’t the problem. Toddlers are. Toddlers are the ones who get into everything, climb, run, jump, and have no problem checking out everything. I have never really needed to baby proof, but I certainly needed to toddler proof my home shortly after my twins started walking.
At first it is as simple as keeping bathroom doors shut and cabinets installed with locks. But, then things started to get hairy when I realized that safety isn’t the only concern, home preservation is also very important.
Kids destroy things. They rip, tear, drool, claw, chew, bite, bump, pull, tug, and ruin all sorts of home items. Kids are not gentle. Toddlers don’t know how much you spent on an item or how much time you spent making it. They only know that they want to touch it. It is with this in mind that my husband and I did some basic “toddler proofing.”
The main thing we decided to do was just to remove everything that we didn’t want destroyed. We moved it to high places, packed it up, or just generally put it out of their reach. We rearranged our apartment and furniture in order to do this. While you might think it’s extreme to rearrange your home because of two toddlers, I think it’s not healthy to yell or tell my child “no” every 15 minutes. For my sanity, and their emotional well-being, we found it easier just to remove the distractions all together.
This meant we moved bookcases into our bedroom. We got rid of our DVD tower and opted to put all the DVDs into a big binder, which was then locked in our entertainment center, a piece of furniture we selected for its two large front cabinet doors that could easily be secured with a child’s lock. We also removed things from all drawers they could open (like in our tables and computer desks).
Eventually, we put hook and eyes at the very top of our master bedroom door, and the door to our third bedroom. We tried door knob covers, but we didn’t have the budget for super high quality ones, so they were frequently broken off. We tried duct-taping them closed, but soon that didn’t work either (but we did find another use for duct tape with my twins). The hook and eyes have worked awesome (were super cheap!) as long as we remembered to latch them after we left those rooms. We can now safely store items out of their reach in these rooms without fear!
For a long time our daughters also liked to play in their dresser, pulling out all of their neatly folded clothes. Again, I didn’t feel like yelling at my girls all day long, so we decided to put a hook and eye/baby lock on their closet doors as well. After they switched to toddler beds, we also removed everything from their room, and then realized we overlooked something – the vent. We had to screw down the vent cover, otherwise socks and panties ended up in the vents!
Other things we did was try to make sure we pushed everything back as far as we could on tables and especially counter tops. For a long time, we just gated off the kitchen so we wouldn’t have to worry about our children getting into anything dangerous or making a mess.
For Christmas one year, we decorated the tree, and no more than 15 minutes had passed before it was knocked over and some of the ornaments, including one of my husband’s baby ornaments, broke. We decided to remove ALL of the ornaments on our tree that year, being left only with lights and tinsel.
I am so relieved that my twins have left the toddler years and are into the preschool years. I can trust them more (though not completely) to listen to house rules, and not to not destroy everything. We still take some of these toddler proof to heart though. Unfortunately, we’ll have to start all over again as our 9 month old is crawling, standing, and climbing already.
How did you handle toddler proofing your home against your twins or higher multiples?
ldskatelyn is a mother of 3.5 year old fraternal twin girls and a 9 month old baby. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and children and blogs about their adventures (and more!) at What’s up Fagans.