HOW CAN I CREATE A YES ENVIRONMENT:
- Secure all furniture. Use brackets to secure bookshelves and dressers to the wall. Anchor the television to the wall. Look for anything heavy that a child can reach, and then move it. Move cords for the window blinds out of reach. Secure cabinets with medicines and cleaners in them. This might be the most important step for anyone with small children.
- Gather up all of the breakables, knick-knacks, and super special items (special as in you would be devastated if it was destroyed), and put them in a new home for the next couple of years. That new home could be a box in the top of your closet. There will be a time when they can come back out, but early childhood isn’t it.
- If you have little ones that like to get to cables, cords, and outlets, move something to block them so they are out of sight. We have our TV mounted on the wall with nothing under it but cords. We disguised the cords by putting an art easel in front of them. Problem solved.
- Put toys and activities on low shelves that kids can get to without having to ask for help every time. This will empower them and give them more independence. As for kids taking out all of the pots and pans, we like to fill lower cabinets with things that we don’t mind them taking out and playing with. Just yesterday my daughter took out every single food storage container that we had and stacked them up. She doesn’t even try to open the cabinet full of cleaners right next door because it doesn’t open. This creates a yes space where the child can still explore and do favorite toddler activities without me having to intervene for touching the “wrong” thing because I have removed or locked away all of the “wrong things.”
- Simplify. A Yes Environment can turn into a big headache if there are 50,000 toys strewn about the entire house. Minimize the amount of items that are available at one time to avoid a lot of nagging and frustration with clean up.
You can constantly assess what is working and what isn’t. If you have to continuously tell your toddler to stop scooping the dirt out of the potted plant in the corner, it may be time to move that plant out of sight and out of reach. Creating a Yes Environment doesn’t mean that you are “giving in” or being “soft” or “allowing them to manipulate you”. It means that you are setting your child up to succeed. You are nurturing their self-confidence, security, and sense of control in their life that, for the most part, they have no control over.
Sam Milam is a freelance writer, advocate for children, and unschooling parent. She has been published online and in print. She is a kombucha-drinking mother of 2 from the Pacific Northwest who loves her Attachment Parenting and intentional living blog: Pocketful of Pebbles. She believes that united voices for social justice can have a great impact.