I’m a big girl but I’m not quite big enough to have free roam of the house. I do sometimes get to crawl around and explore but whenever I do, mommy or daddy follow me around constantly. Wherever I go and whatever I do, they are there watching me. It’s rather annoying.
To make matters worse, they are constantly telling me what to do. Or, more accurately, what not to do. Don’t knock that chair over onto yourself. Stop eating the curtain. Get your hands out of the cat food. It’s like having a shadow with an opinion.
As much as I enjoy adventures and exploring, sometimes I just want to be left alone to play in peace. That’s what the baby zone is for. It’s a place where I can do just about whatever I want. The baby zone lets me play as I see fit.
The baby zone has to be big enough for all of my activities. It has to be safe so that mommy and daddy don’t have to constantly intervene in my play. Most importantly, it has to be fun because what’s the point of having a place to have fun when there is nothing fun to do?
Mommy and daddy set up my baby zone for me once I could sit on my own. In those days I didn’t need much space since I wasn’t really moving around. Since then, my baby zone has gradually been expanding to accommodate my growing needs.
The baby zone needs to effectively trap a baby within it. Even though a baby might be perfectly content to play quietly one moment, the next moment they are crawling away in search of adventure. The temptation to explore is simply too great. We use things like cushions, pillows, oversized stuffed animals, and foam yoga mats to block off potential exits.
The matter of safety is very important but much more difficult to address. There are so many potential hazards. Every home is different and each baby is more prone to get into their own set of trouble. Some rational thinking is required to assess each individual situation and identify possible risks. Get down to baby eye level and take a good hard look around.
Any cords, rope, string, or similar objects that could be warped around a neck need to be moved out of reach as they are potential strangulation hazards. Electrical outlets need to be covered up. Any furniture that could be knocked over or climbed on top of needs to be removed.
Once you have identified and removed anything that could be hazardous to a baby, it’s time to consider the survival of your home and possessions. Remember that anything that can be picked up will be thrown. Any button within reach will be pressed. Every hole will have toys stuffed into it. Remove anything you don’t want your baby touching. If it can’t be removed, block it off.
Babies have a tendency to fall over frequently. Just about everything in the baby zone is likely to have a baby melon bumped into it. Anything sharp or overly pointy will need to be removed or covered. The floor is also a concern. Hard flooring will need to be covered. Carpet is one option but we prefer the interlocking foam tiles which are specifically designed for this purpose.
The baby will need to be entertained within the baby zone. Provide plenty of toys and baby safe items to explore. Rotate toys so that the baby doesn’t get bored playing with the same items every day. Get involved in playtime but make sure you allow your little one the freedom to play the way they want to.
The baby zone will need to constantly be reassessed for safety and functionality. As the baby grows, their abilities and needs change. What works one day, might not work the next. You are bound to be amazed by their ability to figure out a way to get into trouble. Give your little one the freedom to play but make sure to always keep an eye on them.