Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas | Yes, You Can Decorate With Small Children At Home


Decorating for Christmas was always something that I looked forward to when Brian and I first were married. Having just a few extra things in our home made everything so warm and cozy.

When Addie's first Christmas came, she was 10 months old. I was "warned" before hand by well meaning people that I would only have the top half of my tree decorated, if I even decorated at all. They made it sound as if small children could not be taught not to touch things.

Chrsitmas 2011

I thought about the decor in my home. I hadn't changed anything since Addie had been born (within reason. Of course, all sockets were covered and we did not light candles). As she began to crawl, we had just taught her not to touch anything that was not a toy. And she learned. We could take her anywhere and we knew she would not touch what she shouldn't.

So I went ahead and decorated for Christmas.

Christmas 2008

She was awake as I decorated. She saw me putting everything up. I showed her the tree. I talked to her about the tree (it makes no difference to me how old my kids are, I still teach them about everything). We played next to the tree.

And she never touched the tree.

(I couldn't resist adding this picture! Is this not the face of someone who knows they are going to have a huge personality, but no one else knows it yet!)

My next step was to put the gifts under the tree. The way I see it, it is not someone else's job to baby/child proof their home. It is my job to teach my baby/child how to treat someone else's home. I expect others to have their trees up and some people choose to put their gifts under the tree.

My job as a mother is to prepare my child to know how to respond when put in that tempting situation.

Of course, Addie's curiosity was piqued. And she did go towards the gifts. And that is when Brian and I taught her that the presents are not to be touched. Not roughly. Not loudly. Just a gentle teaching moment.

And she didn't touch the gifts again.

Christmas 2012

This year, we put our tree up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Ian got to watch Addie and me decorate the tree (decorating took half the time this year because my little girl was such a big help). As soon as he was let loose from his playpen, he did go straight for the tree. We gently told  him "no" and let him look at it while being held. Then we put him down and he just stood and looked.

And then he turned around and walked away.

He has not gone to the tree to touch it since. He just stands and looks or completely walks by it. Or, as he did on Sunday evening, he points his finger at it and says, "Nah, nah, nah, nah!" I think he is reminding himself not to touch it.

At this point, I have gifts wrapped and under the tree, and he has not touched them.

Enjoy decorating your home and making this season a joy for your entire family.... tiny ones included!
For an update on how Christmas 2013 is turning out, click here.


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