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Independence vs. Safety: 5 Tips for Dealing with Your Little Climber

Independence vs. Safety: 5 Tips for Dealing with Your Little Climber

Several months ago I discovered my then 20-month-old at the very top of a ladder to our attic! It was kind of funny, but mostly scary, as it is the first time your little one climbs out of his crib...or over a baby gate, or up on a table or ladder. Circle of Moms member Leah H., knows what I'm talking about; her son would climb the walls if his little toes could get a good enough grip.

What to do? You want to encourage independence, but also keep your child safe. Is there a way to accomplish both? Here are five ideas that strike a good balance, all from moms whose kids love to climb.

Climb Outside Only

Wendy S. offers a reasonable idea: Allow climbing outside only, and only when an adult is supervising. This means, of course, that you have to keep an eye out all the time, at least until your child reliably obeys this rule and it seems firmly established.

Seek Out "Soft" Play Spaces

Yasmin A. suggests that you divert your child's attention away from climbing on dangerous things by providing her with a safer outlet for her daredevil explorations. Take her to a venue that offers "soft play," like a kid's gym with a cushy floor and structures she can literally bounce off of. 

 

Climber-proof Your Home

You can also make your own home safer by placing pillows under areas where your child likes to make her ascents. Briany C. bought her daugher an indoor climbing gym and did just that, creating a crash pad by placing cushions all around the periphery. 

Other safety precautions recommended by moms include removing climbable furniture from balconies and windows, locking windows, and securing bookshelves to the wall.

Tell Your Child Which Climbs are OK, Which Are Not

Lindsay H.'s daughter drags a kitchen chair around the house so that she can access higher ground. My son does this as well, with permission. For us, the key to safety is setting boundaries. I figure if Olin wants to climb up to the kitchen sink to wash his hands, bringing a chair over is safer than trying to scale the cabinets. But I tell him it's not okay to use a chair to get access to the dining room table. We try to place items he might want near the edges of tables: fruit, crayons, his sunglasses. We praise him for being independent, but we let him know that tables are not meant for climbing. (It took awhile for this message to sink in.)
 

Brace for Bumps and Bruises

Another mom, Bonnie G., reminds us that we also have to brace ourselves for the inevitable bumps and bruises. Climbing is a part of exploring, and it's how kids learn.

 

Image Source: Courtesy of mitchio via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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