Ok, you got me. "Easy" may be a strong word to use here, but there are easier ways to baby proof your house and avoid that "I-live-in-a-daycare" vibe. I have learned through working with a TON of young families, and of course baby proofing my own home, that there are creative tricks you can use so your space functions for all members of your family alike. No babies at home? You're probably about to scroll on, but you might want to consider reading this anyway. It's nice to have grandkids, nieces and nephews, or friends with littles over without having to fret about your space. Just a thought. Let's jump in!
FIRST: Pick the room in your home where your kid(s) will be spending the majority of their time.
For most people, this will be the living room or family room. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones with space for a separate playroom--awesome! Do however be mindful of how you set up that play space. While your kiddo is little, you'll need to be with them while they play, and as they get bigger they'll never want to leave your side. This means that the space needs to function just as well for you as it does for them so you enjoy being in there, too. A sofa for Insta scrolling, a desk for quick email sends, or a yoga mat to get a short workout in are all good additions to consider.
If you're working with your existing living room then flip that script and figure out how to include things for baby in your adult space. More on that below!
SECOND: Identify and remedy any unsafe situations.
A bit of a basic thing, but so so so important! Here are a few things to look for:
Electrical cords and outlets
Cleaning supplies and pharmaceuticals
Low shelves with easy to reach items
Window coverings that are long or have cords
Plants (look up which plants are safe)
Pet items like toys and food
Awkward transitions between flooring types
Once you've made your list it's time to find solutions to the most obvious safety issues. Don't get all up in your head now and think, "OMG! My house is a death trap!" It's not, it's really not. If this is a room where you plan to leave your child alone and free to wander then do everything in your power to make it child-proof. If on the other hand, your kid won't be alone in the space, then fix the really obvious issues and use others as training opportunities. For instance: "We don't pull on the drapes since they could fall down on us" or "We don't want to rip the leaves off the palm. We want to take care of it so it can grow big and strong." I like this method but for some folks, following your kid around all day is just not in the cards. I respect that. Do what feels right for you. A bubble-wrapped room? Sure, why not!
THIRD: Find fixes for the things that just won't work.
There are your obvious solutions like baby gates (I'm a big fan of this one personally) and cabinet locks (have you seen these magnetic ones? Brilliant!). That said, you don't need to necessarily buy out the entire baby-proofing aisle in Home Depot in order to get your house kid-ready. Think creatively about your space instead. We have an open-concept living and dining area which makes it tricky when we want to keep our babe on the living room end. We did purchase a few baby gates, but then we also use his Lotus travel crib, which we keep in the living room, to block off between the side table next to the sofa and the arm chair. This creates a double-duty solution and it's easy to move it back out of the way when we adults are using the space during naps and bedtime.
Some other ideas might be using low shelves to house baskets with toys or diapers, placing fragile decor up high and heavy, hard-to-move pieces down low, or putting plants up on tables or plant stands. Don't reinvent your entire space overnight. Think creatively and wait to see what your baby gets into and let that determine how you adapt the space. Who knows, maybe your kid won't care at all about the lamp cord--but they probably will.
FOURTH: When in doubt distract, distract, distract.
Thankfully, babies are easy to distract, so be sure you keep plenty of things in their space that are for them. If you're worried about baby's things cramping your style, then look for toys that work with your look. I love the Lovevery play gym which is mostly black and white with a few bright pops to keep baby engaged. Wood toys like this adorable snail we were recently gifted or this walker we love are cute enough to leave out, but also small enough to tuck away if you don't want to see them.
The key I find here is to come up with a functional storage system that lets you keep everything accessible, but where everything can be picked up in minutes. For us, this is a basket system under our TV. Others might prefer a cabinet or the Montessori method of an open shelf with just a few displayed toys. Just be mindful of the number of toys that are available at a time. The more toys, the more mess. I'm a big fan of toy rotation; I leave a few out and swap them every few weeks with "new toys" that I have hidden in a cabinet in another room.
As parents we want to do everything in our power to keep our kids safe, happy, and healthy, which is why the subject of baby-proofing can be anxiety inducing. No one wants to make a wrong move, but I think with a little ingenuity, and a few strategic baby gates, your home will be perfectly functional for both you and your little one. If you're still feeling stressed about creating a space for your growing family, reach out to me and let's work together to build your family home!
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