What is the Rule in Your House?

My mom and I had a lengthy discussion yesterday over childproofing. There are two schools of thought. First, move the items that might be in harms way. Second, leave the items exactly where you’ve always placed them and teach the child that he is not allowed to touch them.

I’ve noticed that while most parents childproof their own homes many grandparents choose not rearrange their belongings. If a glass ornament decorates a coffee table it will NOT be removed just because a child is coming over to play. If a set of antique candle holders line the fireplace they will not be moved to a new location just because little fingers might reach and break them.

My son learned to pull himself into a standing position and cruise at 7 months and being quite tall and very active it was easy for him to grab onto anything that was the height of a coffee table. For the longest time my mom displayed collectibles on an end table in her living room. Every time I brought my son over to play I feared he would grab one of these tiny objects and accidentally drop it onto the floor.

While I certainly discouraged my son from playing near the collectibles and encouraged him to play elsewhere in the room, I jumped up every time he walked over to that table. While this didn’t put a total damper on our visits it did make them more stressful.

Is it up to grandparents to childproof their homes on days when the baby comes over? I’m not one to keep a lot of knick-knacks and tchotchkes all over the house so for me the answer would be a resounding yes! While I am happy to teach my son his boundaries I want to enjoy the time with the people I love. I don’t want to spend that time worrying about tiny fingers grabbing onto breakable objects.

So I’m curious what are the rules in your house or the house of your children’s grandparents? Do they move things when your son or daughter comes over or are you expected to continually discipline your child until they learn to avoid areas that aren’t kid-friendly?

5 thoughts on “What is the Rule in Your House?”

  1. My parents moved a lot of things when the little ones started coming around. We had 11 of them over the years so for awhile there was always little fingers reaching and stretching. My inlaws did not. We went there less frequently. I wonder, if subconsciously, that was part of the why.

  2. My ex-MIL was in the “he’ll have to learn not touch it” camp when my son was that size. Until the day I walked into her kitchen and he was holding a butcher knife with the blade facing his palm. Had I yelled or even moved suddenly, he could have tensed his hand and cut off his fingers.

    After that, there were no questions. Grandparents could childproof their homes or we wouldn’t be visiting. It’s impossible to teach a small child (under 3) not to touch things because they don’t understand what it means to get hurt. I’m all for teaching them as they become old enough to understand, but when it comes to breakables and sharp objects, my child’s safety comes before any lofty ideas about teaching him not to touch things.

  3. Oh my gosh, what a pain this is! Every time I visit my MIL, we can’t rest or relax for a second, cause there are a million things for my kids to grab, not to mention a horribly steep staircase for them to fall down. And they never visit us cause of health problems, urgh!

  4. It’s funny how many of you commented on the experience at your in-laws house. My mom moved the collectibles the minute I told her that they were stressing me out. My in-laws never move anything when we visit. As a result I’d prefer they come to my house to play with my son.

  5. Wow – food for thought! I don’t have kids but I’m probably in the ‘move things’ camp – I’m the kind of person that likes to make things easy for other people, and that’s definitely the path I take when kids come over to our house.


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