December is just a few days away and Christmas decorations are taking over homes across America. Staying home with little ones can create anxiety over the thought of having precious ornaments and decorations coming out of boxes and going on display. Don’t let that anxiety slow your holiday cheer. There are a few tricks including placement, safe practices, and setting simple expectations to help save those fragile favorites and still get to decorate to your hearts content.
First, consider the reach of the kids in your home and keep some items out of reach. I have 3 nativity sets. Two are plastic and one is a very fragile, ceramic collectors set. To protect the one I love, I set the two plastic sets at lower levels where the kids can play with them and I won’t have to worry. The Little People Deluxe Christmas Story is perfect for little hands. The figures are soft and there is no fear of small objects posing a choking hazard. The set is recommended for ages 1-5 yrs of age.
Second, I set up multiple Christmas trees. I realize this is a bit difficult for some because they just don’t have the time or space to set up multiple trees. It works for my kids because they have their own tree to hang ornaments and even take away ornaments if they’d like to move things around. Sometimes, they just want to take ornaments off to get a closer look. I won’t mind if ornaments are moved around or garland isn’t in perfect placement, because this tree is for them.
If the kids are younger than 3 years of age and are just too tempted by the tree, there is always a play gate or baby yard. This Grey 6 Panel Play gate is perfect for placing around the base of your tree to keep the bottom of the tree just out of reach for the tiny little toddlers. Certainly, some ornaments are small enough to be choking hazards and it’s best, even with a gate to keep these small ornaments near the top of the tree and far from the reach of little ones.
I have a few seasonally scented, Christmas candles that I absolutely love. I do burn the candles, but not during the day while I’m watching kids in my home. It’s just not worth the risk that I might be so distracted by the kids that I might forget one of the kids is burning. I watch kids that are age 3 and older, so I ultimately set rules for these items that I place out on tables and counters. The kids are old enough to understand these rules, so I give them my expectations as soon as possible. I use the opportunity to talk with the kids about safety, care, and responsibility for items they should not play with because they are not toys.
The first Christmas I spent with babies, I did not hang an ornament that wasn’t plastic and large enough that my kids couldn’t choke on them. The second Christmas, I did place a few fragile ornaments out but I placed them at the very top of the tree and placed all the plastic bulbs all over the first 4 feet of the bottom of the tree. It’s okay to take these baby steps to get to a fully decorated tree. Now, my kids are older and I have several years of home made ornaments to hang along with the plastic ones.
When there is a doubt that a Christmas decoration or ornament will pose a danger to little kids, or be in danger of little kids damages, don’t risk it. Placing these items high up on shelves or on the highest branches of the tree is still opportunity to have them out and use them. It also never hurts to block little kids from these items with a baby gate. Setting rules and expectations will also help to protect the kids and the decorations. If they are old enough to walk, they are old enough to learn, “No!”
Thank you and Merry Christmas Daytime Guardian Angels!