|Borrowed from http://alterforchildsafety.ca/|
Whether your child is a master of the ball pit or still hanging around the play mat, accidents happen - a lot. While learning to walk, while petting an anti-social cat, or just over eagerly playing with your toy horses. If you're my son anyways... It can be tough. Part of you wants to run yelling to the scene, scoop your child up dramatically and smother them with cure-all kisses. Yet, part of you is saying to wait it out, see how bad it is. It's all part of learning independence! Growing a thicker skin! It's definitely harder on mommy than on baby sometimes. As I learn to calm my own inner panic attack, here are some tips for coping with your little klutz.
The best place to start is always with an ounce of prevention. A local initiative funded by several southern-Ontario health units, in association with the University of Guelph, suggest that parents "ALTER for Child Safety."
Activities - Change what you are doing or what your child is doing.
Location - Move to where you can better see your child or bring your child to where you are.
Timing - Ask yourself "Do I need to be doing this now?"
Environment - Make changes around your home that can prevent a fall.
Resources - Ask for help and use what you have learned.
Let's be honest; you can't keep your eyes on your child for 100% of every day, but a huge number of minor injuries can be prevented using these strategies. Your supervision can only do so much, so set your home up for success. Install baby gates on stairs, and have a secure spot for baby to wait for you when nature calls. Have anti-tamper plugs for electrical sockets and locks for cupboards with chemicals. It's a real juggling act sometimes, but don't let household guilt override quality time. Let the laundry and the dishes pile up every once and a while to focus on play. Small, largely common sense changes make for a huge difference in protecting your child from your space, and vice versa!
When the inevitable bumps or scratches happen, focus on the lesson as well as the bodily damage. It might not be their fault, but they might be able learn something about why they got hurt. This might mean calm instruction as to why the activity they did was dangerous, for example, even if they don't fully understand. Kids are very eager to please, and far more receptive to conversation than they might lead you to believe. Talking over what happened becomes part of the healing process, and can distract from the initial shock of what happened.
It's an emotional thing to get hurt, and that's not something to be ignored either. They are exploring their environment and learning skills about which they have no experience. When something unexpected happens, there is frustration, sadness, disappointment, and maybe even anxiety to try again. Consider bringing a little fun in to the healing process with a toy that ices while it cuddles! They are easy to make and super cute (not to mention seasonal)!
It's called a Boo Boo Bunny, and it takes under 10 minutes and 10 items to make one! You can find instructions here, but there's are lots of cute animal variations to make your child's perfect healing companion!
Take a deep breath, and know that these things happen. What they need more than anything is a big hug from you, and encouragement to try again. There is no better medicine in the world than the love of your mom.