Natural consequences are a little tricky with multiples or homes with more than one child. You want your child to learn cause and effect naturally, but sometimes their actions can negatively impact another child, needing us to be a little more attentive and creative.
We try to create a yes-environment as much as possible. Testing boundaries and taking risks is an important aspect for them learning about their limits, so that they may set their own boundaries. But child-proof certain areas (like electrical outlets) are necessary. Some families are able to arrange their kitchen and bathroom so that cleaning supplies are in a higher cabinet, thus limiting the amount of proofing needed. Other families, like us, don’t have the space and require certain locks to be placed on cabinets for safety. It’s all about balance.
In finding the right balance, we also consider what we are willing to allow our children to experience. If they tumble off the steps that are in the sitting area, that’s part of them learning to cautiously use stairs. Other stairs, like the ones that lead to the basement, are blocked, as that’s not a little tumble, but potentially life threatening. We protect them with a baby-gate because there’s natural consequences and then there’s protecting your child from serious injury.
V has started to enjoy closing doors–sometimes this looks more like slamming. If it were only her fingers that were at risk of potentially being pinched (she’s actually really cautious) we wouldn’t be too concerned. But E often arrives on the scene at the wrong time. We needed to make sure that she isn’t facing the effects of her sister’s actions, so we actually decided to purchase pinch guards. Some may think that this isn’t necessary, that upon getting pinched E may be more cautious afterwards. We have decided this just wouldn’t be fair to E and choose to protect her. And because of the potential risk (broken finger?) to a harmless party, we find ourselves doing a little more child-proofing than we would have if we didn’t have twins.
If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen that E had a cast on for a little over three weeks. This was due to a normal fall, standing position, as she tried to stand without support (it’s called a buckle fracture and it’s from low impact). The girls have toppled off their little stairs with no injury and went on to get back up. We have even removed their weaning table or flipped it over when not in use to prevent them from climbing it. Yet a fracture happens when E just happened to try and catching herself or just land awkward from a standing position. Talk about feeling defeated.
We strive for them them to be protected while learning cause and effect in a safe place, all without being over-the-top. Such a balancing act.
What balance have you found when it comes to natural consequences and baby-proofing?
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