Teaching your children good behaviour is all about showing them how to resist temptation, whether it’s to steal another biscuit, draw on the wall or squeeze out all the toothpaste just for fun. For parents it can be a lot easier, and head off a lot of unnecessary trouble and expense, to simply eliminate such temptations before children ever have the chance to act on them. Some temptations should be eliminated for safety’s sake, others for expediency. Still others may only be removed for certain situations, which makes talking to your children about this temporary elimination important.
Eliminating Temptations for Safety
Children are naturally curious, so it’s hard to fault them for simply wanting to explore their environment. Unfortunately this turns everything in the world into a temptation to see what is does, how it works and if it’s any fun. Temptations which must be eliminated to ensure your child’s safety include:
- Access to kitchen appliances, including the washing machine, oven and hob.
- Access to sharp objects such as knives and scissors.
- Access to flights of stairs before a child can safely navigate them.
- Uncovered water features, such as pools, fountains, tubs and even filled buckets.
- Unsupervised access to hot water.
- Electrical outlets.
- Leads and cords to electrical items and curtains.
- Large plastic bags/sheets/wraps.
- Cleaning supplies, especially those which are brightly coloured and bubbly.
- Toiletries, including perfume and cologne.
Temporary Temptation Elimination
If you feel that you only need to take away temptations for a little while, perhaps for an afternoon, day or week, explain to your child what you are doing and why. Talk with him or her about the appropriate use of the item and why you are worried about how (s)he will treat it. Explain that you are putting the item away for a set amount of time, and when you will bring it back out. It’s not fair to expect children to know how to treat every item in the home when they are only just beginning to recognise them, so help them along with clear instructions about these tempting treats.
Eliminating Temptations for Expediency
Some of the most tempting items to children are not necessarily anything that could hurt them, but it could cause you a lot of grief to have to deal with the aftermath of their explorations. These items should simply be removed from a child’s environment until (s)he understands that they are not to toys. Examples of items which could be taken away or put out of reach simply for expediency include:
- Delicate electrical appliances.
- Expensive technology.
- Anything which becomes hot to the touch.
- Anything which is made up of multiple pieces which could be spilled or swallowed.
- Anything containing liquids.
- Art supplies which might be used while unsupervised.
- China, crystal or otherwise breakable knickknacks.
- Family heirlooms.
- Anything sentimental.
- Anything which could not be replaced.
Eliminating temptation is a good way to minimise the headaches associated with your children exploring their environments. Some temptations must be removed for the safety of all involved while others may be removed simply to avoid unnecessary annoyances. When temptations are removed only temporarily, talk with your child about the situation and when you will know that (s)he is ready for the items to return.