So, you’re the parent of an active child, a spirited munchkin, or a cheeky tot? If you’ve recently added a baby to your family, or are getting used to having a toddler around, you’ll know that children seldom sit still; in fact, turning your back for even a few seconds could prove to be incredibly dangerous, regardless of your intentions for doing so. Sometimes it’s not enough to have eyes in the back of your head; you’ll need several pairs of hands, an extra foot or two, and a sense of smell to rival a bloodhound’s in order to keep that ‘spirited’ baby safe for a single day. However frustrated you are now, it’s essential to remember that your child stays small for such a short time. Today you’ll be baby-proofing the house, but tomorrow you’ll be waving your not-so-little-one off to college; it’s time to embrace that active child, and to encourage the sense of adventure they bring with them.
If your hair’s threatening to go gray, your pets have long since left home, and your nerves have reached the very end of what they’re willing to tolerate, it may be time to call in reinforcements. So, where should you start?
Baby-proofing your home: Helpers for active children
There was a time when baby-proofing your house would be enough. As long as your child was protected from sharp edges, plug sockets, and dangerous chemicals, you could go about your day in peace and quiet. However, these days we are increasingly aware of what it means to have an active child, and that there is a need to channel that energy as best as possible; remembering that your child isn’t merely being naughty can be hard, but it’s important to embrace your little one’s joie de vivre – it can be essential for their development of character.
Baby proofing your home
Baby proofing is something that all parents must do when they welcome a child into their family, and home, but it can prove doubly important for those that are nurturing an active child. Covering plug sockets, installing a fire guard, purchasing cushioned covers for sharp edges, ensuring each cupboard door is protected with a catch, and placing all breakable objects out of reach are standard ways to protect your child – and home. Window catches and safety gates may form part of your new parent kit, ensuring that your child is kept safely in a single room or area, and away from stairs or household dangers.
Keeping an active baby in one place
There will come a time when keeping your baby entertained just isn’t enough; perhaps you have a chore to do, or an important phone call to make, and yet your child is too busy scurrying around the house for you to get on with your day. In this case, playpens, baby bouncers, swing seats, and cushioned baby seats may become your godsend, keeping your child safely in one place as you finish what you’re doing. More than that, though, such accessories are designed to engage your child’s attention, and to enable them to take part in whatever you’re doing safely and securely. A new product on the market, the Uplift Multi-Level Baby Bouncer is designed for such an occasion; positioned high enough so that your baby feels included, the bouncer will gently rock and bounce your child if they’re in need of a moment of calm.
Stimulating toys and games
There are so many stimulating toys and games on the market these days, all designed to engage your child’s attention and creativity, as well as giving you a small break from chasing around. Sensory toys that allow a child to discover the varying textures of the world, activity gyms and play mats, and games that center around sporting activities will keep your little one entertained for hours, as well as exercising their mind and body. Imaginative play is essential during childhood, so consider creating a home corner, shop, hospital, or zoo for your child to play in; miniature versions of adult accessories, including hoovers, pushchairs, and cooking utensils will encourage your child to become involved with your daily routine, and channel that energy productively.
Arts and crafts, and Song and dance time
Song and dance time, as well as arts and crafts activities, can be a great outlet for active children, enabling them to use their time, and energy, productively. Busy bags, which are typically cloth bags filled with ‘surprise’ activities, as well as musical toys, music videos or a CD player with children’s songs, and ribbons for inspiring dance routines can keep even the most active toddler busy for hours, and give you no end of pleasure as you watch your whirlwind interacting with their creative side. What’s more, having a singsong and dance can rejuvenate a frazzled parent, so allow yourself to participate every once in a while.
As the parent of an active child you know better than most that time never stands still; the chances are you’ll be on your feet all day, and will know more parenting hacks than many could shake a stick at. However you’re also likely to know just how amazing and fun children can be, and to have embraced every adventure wholeheartedly. Yes, your child is a whirlwind, capable of rendering an entire room uninhabitable, but he or she is your whirlwind – and you wouldn’t change them for the world.