Christmas curiosity ... To be fair, the room just got a big tree with lights and spinny things on it. Who could resist?
If this is your first Christmas with a toddler in the house, you may be wondering how you'll keep your Christmas treasures out of curious little hands.
To be fair to the kids, the room just got a big tree with lights and spinny things on it. Who could resist investigating it every chance they get?
Here's a game plan to keep your toddler from pulling the tree down, or from hurling your grandmother's antique ornament across the room.
You know those ceiling hooks you can hang potted plants from? Those are a good solution to tipping Christmas trees. Use fishing line to secure the top of the tree to the hook; you can also do this mid-tree to a back wall.
It's also a safer choice to place the tree away from lounges, shelves or chairs that can be used as ladders or launching pads.
Pyramid of greatness
The Christmas tree should have the most rare and important baubles on top, proceeding in descending order to the plastic ornament that came in a cereal box on the bottom. Even the celebs do it - Hilary Duff, mum to Luca, last year said, "Obviously we have a funny looking Christmas tree because all the ornaments are at the top.”
Don't kid yourself that you can just teach your child not to touch the tree. Sure, you might, but on the off-chance your child has a moment of pure curiosity, keep any valuables out of reach.
Let them touch stuff
Here's where it can get tricky, but you can stave off a fight by actually letting your child touch stuff under certain rules. One method that can work is to let the children touch anything on the tree they like - but with only one finger. Kids can't do too much damage poking at it, and it usually satisfies curiosity. The same works with decorations such as nativity scenes or Christmas presents.
You can also sit them in your lap and let them touch it softly as you show them how to gently admire it.
Notice good behaviour
Instead of saying "Don't touch this" and "Don't touch that", 10 times a day notice and praise your children when they're near the tree or decorations and they don't get grabby. Even if they didn't mean to, by "catching" them acting right, and getting praise for it, chances are good you'll see more positive behaviour.
Fence it off
It may not make the room look worthy of Vogue Living, but what house with a toddler really does? Putting the tree in a large play pen will keep it out of reach of busy fingers - and let you keep the presents in a safe place too.
If the tree does just happen to fall, shatter-proof, plastic ornaments are obviously the safest choice. And instead of using decorations with metal hooks or wires, you can choose options with a ribbon hanger - you can even replace old wire hooks with ribbons yourself if you have older sentimental pieces you still want to display.
If all else fails and your little one still manages to make it through to start patting and poking the shiny balls, it can help to have a lot of bells placed low around the tree - that way, if you hear a sudden chorus of bells jingling, you'll know the perimeter has been breached and the tree is in danger of a certain curious toddler!
Got any other ideas to help kids and Christmas decorations co-exist without mess or breakages? Have your say below, or join the conversation in the Essential Baby Christmas forum.