Step 1 of Positive Parenting: Create a Safe, Interesting Environment
Many of us start the New Year with a set of resolutions, usually centered on bettering ourselves in some way—whether it’s eating healthier or saving money. The New Year is also a wonderful time to assess how you are doing with Triple P’s 5 Steps to Positive Parenting.
If you are new to Triple P Online, it is an online course distributed via LaneKids for parents of children ages 2-12. Information is delivered via online videos and is supplemented with blog posts on a variety of topics, from toilet training to coping with stress.
Whether you are new to the program or just need a refresher, it’s always worth taking a moment to explore the core values of the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). This review helps us to stay grounded in our value of supporting our children to become the best they can be, while taking care of ourselves along the way. Over the next 5 weeks, we will explore the 5 Steps To Positive Parenting, starting with: Create a safe, interesting environment.
What Does It Mean to Have a Safe Environment?
Creating a safe environment for your child to explore will set you and your child up for success when it comes to learning and exploration.
First, let’s talk about home safety.
How you childproof your home will largely depend on the age of your child. Guidelines for all ages of children include:
- Have smoke detectors outside each bedroom
- A lockable medicine cupboard
- Cleaning products and other poisons out of reach
- A hot water heater with a thermostat set below 120 degrees F.
- If there is a weapon in the home, keep it locked, out of reach and out of sight
- When it comes to infant and toddler safety, consider:
- Moving the crib away from the window
- Keeping curtain cords up and out of reach
- Using corner covers to pad sharp edges of tables and other furniture
- Covering electrical outlets
- Using safety gates for stairs or other off-limit rooms
- Following the toy manufacturer’s age recommendations and checking regularly for broken parts.
- Keeping small toys, such as marbles and magnets, out of reach.
- Using latches in the kitchen to keep cupboards, the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher locked up
As your child matures, the safety latches and corner covers can go, but now you have other household items to be aware of:
For older children:
- Continue to keep cleaning products and poisons out of reach
- Other possibly dangerous items to keep inaccessible, include: matches, lighters, cigarettes, alcohol, firearms and other weapons
- In case of a fire, come up with a route to safely exit your home and practice it with your children
There’s No Place Like Home
There’s no doubt about it: a toddler is happiest while in the comforts of their own home with the people they love. Of course, for everyone’s sanity, it’s important to have interesting toys, games, and crafts to keep kids busy.
You don’t need the latest and greatest toys with all the bells and whistles to entertain your children. Kids, especially toddlers, love sensory play that allows them to use their hands to explore and (sometimes) get messy.
Rotating out these activities in your own home is a great way to stimulate your child’s imagination:
- Soft dough with cookie cutters and rollers. Consider making your own batch from scratch and adding sparkles or even a scent, such as peppermint, to it!
- Fill a bin with sand and play with sand tools, construction vehicles, dinosaurs… you name it!
- Fill a large bowl with water and dish soap, and use it as a washing station for toys
- Fill a large bin with shaving cream. Add food coloring for fun swirls of color
- Give your child a pile of your clean recycling, tape, scissors, and markers and see what happens!
When it’s time to get the wiggles out but the weather isn’t cooperating, try these indoor activities:
- Set up an obstacle course using pillows and couch cushions
- Use removable tape to create a hopscotch or course on the floor for your child to jump into
- Make your own bowling set using a ball, stuffed animals, paper towel tubes or empty water bottles
- Decorate cardboard boxes to make robots, racecars, or rocket ships
- Walk like your favorite animal: bear, crab, elephant, frog
- Blow up some balloons and bounce them around
- Play freeze dance
- Make a scavenger hunt
Knowing your home is safe for your child to play and explore in, will help set your mind at ease so you can focus your energy on having fun and making memories.
You can also learn more about Triple P by going to LaneKids at www.lanekids.org
If you or your child are on Oregon Health Plan (OHP) through Trillium Community Health Plan, you can get Triple P Online for free by filling out the form below or at https://www.lanekids.org/triplep/. A staff person from Parenting Now will send you an access code within 24 hours and you’ll be able to start using the program right away!
If you are not on OHP, you may purchase the program for $79.99. Please click here to visit the Triple P website.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now please visit their website (https://parentingnow.org/) or contact us at email@example.com