09 September 2008

Play Yard in lieu of Baby-proofing the House

Not all boomers have young children in their lives and goodness knows I have no grandchildren. But I do have occasional need for a safe place for young visitors. One in particular. We'll call her The Child Visitor.

The dome is dangerous. We have breakables everywhere and, inexplicably, artwork near the floor. (Actually there is explanation: geodesic domes have curved walls that are not conducive to hanging paintings.)

The Child Visitor must be safe or at least slowed down. The play yard does that. The photo above shows what are actually 2 play yards connected for a large space of 8' x 8' that permits adults to enter, too. Cost in 2006 was about $200. The pieces can be assembled in 5 minutes. We place the gate directly inside the front door of the house. The Child Visitor goes straight into the play yard and, of course, finds a different arrangement of toys or even a new toy each time she visits.

The floor of the play yard was not planned when I ordered the structure. I had set up the play yard for the first time and suddenly realized that while I was protecting the child from the house, I was not necessarily protecting the house from the child. So, I pulled out some mats and created an instant floor. (I have since seen a more long-term use of such inter-locking mats: a young friend in Manhattan has covered her entire apartment with them to protect both her toddler and the wood floors.)

As The Child Visitor has grown, she is not contained in the play yard, of course. But it continues to serve as her landing point upon arrival and it's a great place for her to snack. (My task is to keep it interesting so that she spends most of her visit in that space.) Since she has become a sturdy walker, we've added the dismantling of the play yard as her routine before leaving. She likes the activity and I'm hoping it will reinforce the structure as a characteristic of her visits.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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