A safe, stimulating and nurturing environment is the right of every toddler.
Just like the people in a baby’s life have a profound impact on their development, so does their environment. A toddler’s environment can help them develop their sensory and motor skills. Be it vision, observation, touch, smell or taste. Their environment really sets the tone for the skills they acquire. More so because unlike adults they do not have the power to change their environment on their own if it does not suit them.
Hence, it is important for parents, caregivers, creches and even preschool teachers to create a safe atmosphere for toddlers.
Here are some toddler safety tips and more that can put an end to your question of ‘how can we develop a safe environment for babies.’
- Focus on creating a safe space
- Make the space as comfortable as possible
- Create scope for meaningful interactions with parents and guardians
- Ensure the space is conducive to a child’s development
Since a toddler constantly interacts with their environment, it is important for you to ensure that the space they are in is safe and healthy with minimum risk of injury. Toddlers will be able to freely explore such a space, thus allowing their imaginations and their motor skills to develop in an optimal fashion.
Plus, it is better for you as a caregiver as well as you do not have to constantly worry about the wellbeing and safety of babies, thus giving them more opportunities to interact with and respond to you and the activities you have planned for them. It is a win-win for all!
That said, when designing a space for kids, be sure to maintain it properly as well. There should be regular health, hygiene and sanitation checks to ensure the space is safe for a child in every sense of the term. This can also reduce their chances of contracting diseases while contributing to their well-being. It is a very effective toddler safety tip.
Of the environmental factors that affect child development, the comfort of the space figures high on the list. Not only should you equip their play area with toddler-friendly furniture, you should also factor in resting areas for adults.
You should want to design this space in a way in which caregivers and toddlers can have meaningful interactions so that they can build positive relationships with each other. This can only happen when both parties feel physically comfortable enough to interact with each other.
Include several seating areas for adults and toddlers throughout the space, including a proper dining table where both caregivers and babies can share a meal together. You can try out things like love seats, benches, cushions etc. can contribute to making a very agreeable space.
You can also include little enclosures where toddlers can play close-by without the excessive interference of adults. When toddlers get the chance to move freely, they get a confidence boost and sense of autonomy, which can make them more independent.
In this scheme of things, make sure there is also plenty of scope for babies and caregivers to communicate, play and even snuggle together if children need comforting.
If you are responsible for a creche or a play school, communicating with parents and guardians is going to be a very frequent part of your everyday job. To ensure you carry this part out smoothly, have a dedicated space where caregivers can converse with parents.
You can start by having an open door policy wherein parents can feel at ease to talk to you about any queries or doubts they may have. Maintaining transparent communication is key to ensuring the wellbeing of the toddlers under your care.
You can also create a welcoming space for parents and guardians that is fully equipped with any information they may need quick access to. This could be things like brochures, leaflets, a calendar with upcoming activities, timings, notices and off days (if any), pictures of children exploring and having fun at the facility (this can be very reassuring) as well as charts with easy parenting tips.
Bear in mind to keep this dedicated area for parent-caregiver close to the room for children so parents can watch their children or get them easily if they need to. The key should be to make this space feel more like home, both for toddlers and their parents. So keep the colours warm, ensure there is plenty of natural light and greenery and the overall vibe is soft, mellow and cosy.
Restrictive spaces are one of the environmental factors that affect child development. You do not want to constrict babies to a narrow space where they do not get the space to crawl or walk or hop or as much as they would like to. Movement is a very crucial phase of child development, which not only supports physical skills but also contributes to the development of their mental skills as they learn to navigate and find their way.
Hence, ensure that the floors of your space are clean and anti-skid so kids do not trip and fall. Try to add elements that encourage various types of movements. You could add swing sets, ball pits, bouncy seats and high chairs so they learn to roll, scoot, sit, jump or anything they feel like without hurting themselves.
However, there are also plenty of clear paths for children to move around without obstacles. Keep low shelves and tables and chairs so they can easily access everything on their own. And segregate play areas from rest areas so kids can have a quiet space to themselves when they do not feel like playing. This way, you will be catering to every single one of their needs while creating a stimulating environment where they have a variety of choices to interact with their environment as they feel like.
We hope this answers your question of ‘how can we develop a safe environment for toddlers.’ Just ensure that every single element you add to this space is child-friendly with minimal to zero risk of injuries. At EuroKids, we follow the above toddler safety tips to offer kids a very safe and stimulating environment to thrive in. You can always drop by at any one of your nearest centres and check it out for yourself.