How We Avoid Baby-Proofing Our House
It’s a known fact that once your kiddo starts becoming more and more mobile, you realize just how many subtle death traps you have lying around your house. If we leave a nail on the ground, or if there is a leaf brought in the front door, or if there is a microscopic piece of plastic that has fallen, our dear daughter will find it. And if you’re like us and are renovating your house, you take it to the next level. Nails, screws, power tools, etc. We’ve learned very quickly the importance of keeping things out of reach when girlfriend is around.
For the most part, I would say our family is fairly clean and organized and our “stuff” has designated spaces. Dillon and I both tend to gravitate towards minimalism and simplicity and we just function at a better level when our space is tidy. But, like many, over time our stuff has grown as our baby has grown. She is still amused by empty boxes and pots and pans, but her toy supply is definitely not lacking. So I was faced with the dilemma of trying to decide where her toys should go. Should I designate a baby play space? Should I keep them in her bedroom? As I thought about it more, I’ve decided to take a completely different approach. Rather than quarantine her off to specific areas, I’ve challenged myself to create a home for her to explore in; a space where she can cultivate her ability to learn and question and be curious. So I thought I would gather up a few practical ideas that I’ve implemented to avoid the need for intense baby-proofing.
Create Baby-friendly Cabinet Contents - In my lower cabinets, I’ve got Tupperware and pots and pans. That’s it. I expect Nora to get in my cupboards and have just shifted things around so that I can leave her in the kitchen and she can explore without fear of what she might find. It took some trial and error and rearranging, but I finally have it down to be kiddo friendly. Sometimes I even put her toys in the cupboards for a fun surprise for her to find!
Incorporate Mindful Decor - This one is especially helpful to keep in mind when decorating for the holidays. We opted for an artificial tree this year and have only put on ornaments that are unbreakable. We don’t decorate with fancy vases on the floor and omit from any furniture that has sharp edges or glass tops. Our bookshelves even have all kid-friendly times on the bottom because, in my mind, that is her space too.
Embrace Non-toxic and plant-based cleaners - I am a firm advocate for all things Norwex. I love that we can clean our entire house with only water and feel like it is actually clean. That being said, there are times where I may use a cleaner in order to get a bit of extra grime off of the highchair or the bathroom, and for that, I have non-toxic and plant-based cleaners. Though I do keep these on a higher shelf (hopefully) out of reach, I have peace of mind knowing that she won’t accidentally find anything that would put her in danger.
Use Safety when Necessary - It should be said that we do actually have a few things in our home to keep us keep Nora alive. We have a baby gate installed at the top of the basement stairs (because there is currently no door there) and we have outlet plugs once we started to see her curiosity peak and she tried to stick a screwdriver in there. In my mind, these are things that we cannot adjust or change and things that can cause real damage if overlooked. When picking your battles, this one is a non-negotiable.
Get Creative - While our living room may be home to the vast majority of Nora’s toys, we try to contain them in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we are sitting in a toy store at the end of the night. All of her toys fit in bench storage that matches our living room and the bigger toys get tucked away out of site. Same principal is applied to bath toys. I’ve also seen lots of beautiful (and durable) baskets used for storage that accomplish the same goal. Put the lid on it once your kiddos go to sleep and enjoy an clutter free space.
Parenting, like many other milestones in life, is such a guessing game. It’s constant trial and error and no one really knows what they’re doing, but instead are all trying new things and sharing the peaks as well as the pitfalls so that we can (hopefully) inspire one another to enjoy the journey. One of the things have I’ve been most challenge to embrace in parenthood is making sure our home is a place for everyone in our family to thrive, including Nora. And sometimes that means that I need to think more creatively about how we adjust our space and our expectations to fit where she is at, but also keep our own needs (like organization and minimalism) a priority. Whatever your method, I’d encourage you to make sure that your space isn’t a place that is only for your kiddos or only for adults, but is a blend of everyones needs and can take on multiple functions as the needs of the day shift. You got this!