Just last year, you may have watched in awe as Baby stacked block after block, carefully building his first tower. Fast forward to the present, and you now find yourself watching in fear as your little climber begins stacking objects on furniture, and his body on top of that, in a constant attempt to reach new heights.
For toddlers, climbing is yet another way to do what they do best – explore. While it can be nerve-racking to watch, having a child who climbs is yet another sign of his improved coordination as he grows. It also shows he has the desire to take his curiosity about his environment to new heights – literally.
It’s important for parents to let children learn by doing, but that doesn’t have to mean allowing Baby to make your entire home his personal jungle gym. Here are some safety tips that will allow Baby to experience his climbing high with minimal crashing lows.
- Provide a “safe” climbing space: If you tell Baby absolutely no climbing, chances are he is going to rebel, and also will find a way to do it when you’re not watching. Instead, if Baby is a climber, set up a climbing space in your home with either an indoor play structure or something self-made. Couch pillows are fun to climb and provide a soft landing in case of falls!
- Stay in sight: Toddlers are pretty accident-prone, and during the climbing phase, it’s expected that there might be some tumbles, so you’ll want to be sure you’re nearby as he explores to avoid any serious accidents. Try not to hover or to repeatedly call out warnings, though, as doing so may cause him to become too timid to explore.
- Implement safety measures: Once toddlers begin climbing, everything in the house becomes a challenge they’d like to conquer. Be one step ahead of the game by baby-proofing anything that looks tempting from his point of view. Rocking chairs, step stools, and so on should be packed away to avoid any falls. Any heavy furniture or wall fixtures should be securely fastened to the wall.
Climbing can be scary to watch as Baby learns the ropes, but it’s educational for him, too. Learning to climb teaches children about balance and also enhances hand-eye coordination. Keep him safe by setting boundaries, but also bear in mind falls happen, and are part of the learning process. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your little acrobat’s show!
- “Learning Through Physical Play.” Early years. Early Years: the Organization for Young Children. Web.