I'll admit that I was a bit nervous about how D would do with our Christmas tree this year. He just turned one so he's walking and exploring everything. So far, we've had great success with the tree and toddler co-existing! Here are four tips for your mobile little one to interact with the tree this holiday season:
1. Put the tree up early and in steps
We put the tree up one day, put the lights on the next, then waited several days to do the ornaments. This allowed D to get used to each part individually. It's a big shock for a baby if you put a sparkly, ornament covered tree in the room one day and expect him or her to understand not to touch it!
2. Put the baby safe ornaments at the bottom of the tree
We started this ornament arrangement before we had kids because we have cats! The plush and unbreakable decorations go on the reachable branches at the bottom of the tree. The more delicate and sentimental ones (such as the ones in memory of D's sister) go where they are out of reach closer to the top.
This worked out really well this year because E wanted to help hang the ornaments. I gave her the sturdy kid safe ones to hang where she could reach from her height as we hung the breakable ones up higher!
As soon as my babies are reaching for things, I encourage them to touch with one finger instead of a grab. This compromise allows them to explore their world in a natural way without ripping and tearing down ornaments on the tree (or name labels on the mailboxes at E's preschool or groceries in the store or papers on our fridge, etc.) Of course this takes practice, praise, and encouragement!
4. Provide decorations babies can manipulate for distraction
We have a few holiday themed stuffed animals that I put out with the rest of the decorations that I can steer D back to playing with if he is getting into other decor that isn't for play. Our Christmas sensory bin has new textures that are safe for him to explore. Here are 10 more toddler holiday activities to keep them busy!