We Have a Toddler Who Loves to Climb : How Do We Keep Him Safe?

10:38 PM Mayen Acebron 1 Comments

Certainly not by making him wear gears or putting him on crib or playpen.

Since we found out about Montessori method when my son was about to turn 9 months, we started preparing his environment to give him more freedom to move. Since then his transition was remarkable. He became an expert in conquering physical challenges for a baby. He learned to walk before he turned one. We did not use a walker to help him walk. We bought him a walker though but we didn't use it for long because I found out about Montessori which is great! He just simply discovered gradually that he can stand up and walk on his own.

Now that he is 19 months and certainly on a sensitive period for movement, he is so fascinated with climbing, which is very normal for his age. However, this stage can also be a very challenging moment for his guide at this point, aka me, his mom!

One thing I do to keep my mover toddler safe on his climbing adventures is by actually allowing him to do so.  Instead of preventing him to do, what we normally perceived as dangerous stunts for a toddler, such as climbing on a chair, on stairs, or on his shelf, I allow him to do those things so I can observe if he can come down on his own safely. 

Doing Montessori at home taught me to trust my child. I or my husband always stay near him so we can help him if he needs it. Otherwise, I let him do the climbing and coming down on his own. Most often than not he knows what to do. He even knows how to slow motion a fall and to prevent his head from bumping the floor. It's pretty amazing that he can do those things really.

I have more peace of mind knowing that he can safely go down. I always give him the opportunity to master the movement he's experimenting. Notice how toddlers tend to do some movements over and over again? That means they are learning to coordinate their movement. 

Montessori noted “Children naturally like to have exercises which are complete in themselves, even if they serve no direct outer purpose … but are a preparation for the activity which is to come. These are what we call ‘cycles of activity’ Children do these things that seem useless, with great care and interest. They seem useless to us but the child is preparing himself and learning to coordinate his movements.” - Montessori from the Start

Only when I know that he already mastered the movement that I can leave him for a while if I need to do something and not worry so much that he will hurt himself. 

If I prevented him from doing those things,  he will not learn and he will try them again for sure when I wasn't looking which can lead to accidents If I made him wear some gears like a helmet or other protective gears for babies he will not find out what will hurt him and what will not and he will not learn how to protect himself which can lead to more serious injuries. Surely, you cannot expect your baby to wear those gears all the time?

Of course, in every freedom we give, we also set some limitations and we set ours as soon as possible. If he wants to climb something that isn't safe, we let him know onset and we tell him as gently as we can. If we see that we really cannot prevent him because, you know, toddler, always on a mission, we try to make the necessary changes to make it safer for him. Have you noticed in the photos how many times we changed the position of the shelf? We tried every angle to make it safer for him to climb. But we can only do this in our own house, so when we visit someone else's house we really watch him very closely.

"Instead of placing the burden on your child to avoid things, shift that burden to yourself to prepare your environment in a way that allows your child's natural development to unfold!" - The Kavanaugh Report

If I didn't find out about Montessori and made an effort (read...read..read...) to understand why my toddler does what he does, I would've been so stressed right now trying to prevent him from doing his stunts for fear of hurting himself. I would even be one of those parents who will put a helmet on his head. I might also view his being a mover as being naughty or bad and I might punish him just to make him safe. As a result, we will be both miserable every day.

Of course, things don't always go smoothly. We sometimes find ourselves dealing with meltdowns and power-struggle if he wants to climb something we think is unsafe. I think that it's normal. At the end of the day, I try to just remain calm, consistent and make him feel that I am ready to embrace him when he recovered from a meltdown.

I am really grateful because I now have the wisdom to understand that every movement my baby does has a purpose and every movement he makes leads to his self-formation. I am here to support him and guide him all the way!

I am not saying that you also let your toddler loose and make him do whatever he wants if you are not comfortable. We have different styles of parenting, we have different children and household. This is just what's work for us and what keeps me and my baby happy with all his everyday adventures. I changed my perspective. Instead of thinking that he is being naughty or hard to deal with like I might have if I didn't prepare myself, I now view his stunts and adventures as learning opportunities for him. Understanding that he is learning in everything he does makes it easier for me to give him freedom even though sometimes the things that he likes to do looks ridiculous. 

"Developing movement in the youngest Montessori children also lays the foundation for future cognitive development. Children who are free to move and explore learn to pursue their own interests. And learning to move to get something just out of reach is a lesson in problem-solving." http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com

What's important is that we, as parents make an effort to understand our children and their needs and we respond to them appropriately. I strongly believe that aside from prepared environment it is also important to be a prepared adult in order to keep our little movers safe and happy. 

I hope you are having a great week so far! Thanks for being here!

1 comment:

  1. I can super relate to this right now because my own 18-month-old son is also such a climber. We also let him be, with guidance though. He learned to climb on and off the bed on his own. He started with his kuya's low study table though, a few months ago. Haha! It almost gave me a heart attack but I kept myself from stopping him and just made sure he didn't hurt himself.


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