This time of year, many of us look forward to beautifully lit and decorated trees. That is, until we realize we have a grabby baby on our hands. Given my now 4-year-old son was nicknamed Destructo-Baby a few Christmases ago, I know all too well. Goodness knows we always have glue on our holiday shopping list, but we have discovered a way to minimize the damage around our house come the holiday season.
Let’s face it, little hands are supposed to grab and throw. That’s how babies learn. Put sparkly, swinging things at eye level and you up the ante. But babies also have to learn limits. And, in our house, instead of constantly using the limit “no”, we use the limit “knock”.
I don’t know about you, but when we say “no” or “no touch”, our baby girl ends up looking like this. (Most of the time, at least.) If we say, “knock, knock, knock”, she knows she can make a little fist (if you’re making a fist, it’s almost impossible to grab), and gently knock on whatever it is three times. Believe it or not, that tends to be enough. And then she’s off to the next exciting adventure in her baby day.
Of course the gentle part, that’s where you come in. Demonstrate. Even help Baby move her hand at the appropriate speed and strength each time you say it for awhile. The gentler the better. One way to reinforce it — and make it a bit more entertaining — is to say, “knock, knock, knock” really quietly. It’s as if you’ve let Baby in on your little secret.
This is a game we started with our six-year old when he was a baby, and we’ve been using the technique successfully ever since. (Though Destructo-Baby needed a bit of extra coaching.) Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.
Happy decorating to you and yours!