Tips for Making Your Outside Space Toddler-Friendly
The time has come. Your baby has left the cradle and entered into their exploratory phase. Their growing muscles and expanding curiosity can only mean one thing—it’s time for them to play outside.
To ensure healthy development, it’s imperative that your child is given the opportunity to explore your yard on their own terms. To ensure their safety, it’s also imperative that you make sure your backyard is as child-proof as possible. Here are some tips for making your outside area a healthy and safe environment for your toddler to experience.
Start with the Fence
To toddler-proof your outside area, you should start with investing in a fence. This will enclose your yard and make certain that your child’s play will remain on your domain, safe from cars and intruders. Even more so, a fence won’t only keep your child inside, it will deter any potential threats from the outside.
For your yard, you’ll want to look for a high, vertically-inclined fence. The fence should not have bottom spacing or vertical slats because these will allow a little body to squeeze through. A high, privacy fence is preferable. If you are a do-it-yourselfer you can grab the materials for this at your local hardware store. If you would prefer to avoid the hassle, you can outsource to a company.
If you have a pool, you definitely want to invest in a pool fence as well. This will deter your child from being near this hazard and possibly falling in. A pool fence will provide a failsafe of protection when you are not around.
Create a Play Area for Safe Play
If your child is going to explore the outside world, it’s best to give them an area that is all theirs. This could be a playhouse, a mini playground, or a simple swing-set. This gives your child their own domain to create and interact with as they desire.
As your child grows older, they are going to want to assert their own individuality. By giving them their own play area, they feel empowered to interact with said area on their own terms. Even more so, your child will respond better to positive reinforcement than negative. The personal play area creates a space where they can play, in contrast to an area where they cannot.
As always, make sure you do your research before purchasing. You want a play-area that is durable, safe, and sturdy. Look at the materials used to make the play area and make sure that it is installed correctly.
Install a Shed for Non-Safe Materials
Before your child enters your yard, you will want to remove all dangerous materials and place them in a toddler-proof containment area. Your yard can be filled with hazardous materials that come in the form of lawn maintenance. Lawn-mowers, sharp shearing materials, and even fertilizer can be harmful to your toddler. The best defense is to place all of these things out of your child’s reach.
The most convenient solution would be to invest in an outdoor shed. This will lock away any potential harm to your toddler. Not only will it protect your child, it will clean up your lawn, and make your outside more aesthetically pleasing. It’s truly a win-win!
Weed Out Harmful Foliage
Most toddlers explore the world through using all their senses. Sadly, this means your child is probably going to explore parts of your lawn by putting it in their mouth. Be proactive and get rid of any toxic plants in your yard. Use natural pest repellants instead of harmful chemicals, and, as always, supervise your child before they chow down on your freshly sowed sod.
Enjoy this Special Phase
When it comes to toddler-proofing your outdoor area, the best defense is preparation. Remove hazardous materials, cushion any harsh edges, and create a space for safe play. You, as a parent, are the greatest enforcer of safe outdoor interactions for your toddler. Allow them to explore, but always supervise them as they play. This way, your child can healthily develop while remaining under your watchful eye. In the end, it is their exploration phase. It is your job to ensure this new phase is a safe and successful one.