Before Sia was born, we had a very straightforward toy rotation system. Sasha was already at the age (22 months) where she didn't take everything in her mouth when I could trust her with small details and wasn't worried it will end up in her stomach. It didn't change for a while. When Sia was a baby, she wasn't interested in anything besides food and sleep, so she couldn't care less what was on the floor and what Sasha was playing with. It all changed at about 4-5 months when Sia started crawling and became very interested in the world around her. So how did we organize a play space for a baby and a toddler?
It took me a while to come up with a system and rules about toys in this house. After some trial and error, we made up some rules that we try to follow.
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RULES ABOUT TOYS IN OUR HOUSEHOLD WITH A BABY AND A TODDLER
- No puzzles left on the floor
- No small detailed or sharp toys when the baby is around
- Books with soft pages should be put away when the baby is around (learned it a hard way)
TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP PLAYROOM SAFE FOR THE BABY WHEN TODDLER TOY'S ARE AROUND
We don't have a dedicated playroom for the kids but we have a toy shelf in the dining nook that I converted into the play area. We don't use the dining table as often, but play space allows me to cook or do my things while kids are playing in front of me.
1. Divide space on your shelf and use the bottom for your baby and the higher shelves for a toddler.
Our Montessori-inspired toy shelf has 3 levels. Naturally, we divided the space and Sia took the bottom shelf. She has there so-called "safe toys".
- a basket with different sized and texture balls
- basket with musical instruments and things that make sound
- tray with wooden toys different shapes and size
- wooden box with disappearing ball
- "pulling ribbons" box
- building blocks (they are Sasha's but since they are big and safe they are on the bottom shelf
Sasha took respectively took the middle and top-shelf. Since Sia is already very comfortable standing and almost walking, she can reach the middle shelf so I usually put their toys that are not a choking hazard and hence safe to be around babies.
The top shelf is for puzzles and multiple details toys that are big to swallow but Sia loves to put in her mouth.
You can find this gorgeous watercolor prints at my ETSY store here.
Most of the toys I got from Russia or China, but here are some options I found on Amazon:
2. Keep small-detailed toys out of baby's reach
Sasha has a few toys at the moments that she loves to play with but they are too dangerous to be around. For example, this marble balls sorting tray and pins with a hammer tray. I usually keep them in my office and Sasha knows that she can use it during Sia's nap. She became so disciplined about bringing it back and knows that under no circumstances she can leave them outside. Of course, I check that no parts were left behind before bringing the baby from her nap
Shop our "Office shelf" here
3. Keep art supplies away from all children
Lesson learned hard way when the playdough fell on the floor and Sia went for it thinking it's food. Art supplies are given under my supervision and per request, but with my big eye following the process
4. Try to use taste-safe paints and play dough
There are so many playdough recipes that taste safe that I want to try out. I think it's a great alternative for an activity involving a baby. We also love to play with colored rice, beans, and cheerios here. I'm not worried about that being swollen since it's all edible.
5. Keep your older kids books away on the higher shelf
This is something I didn't expect to write but since Sia destroyed already quite a few books, I've learned my lesson to not trust a baby with anything but board books.
6. Keep things in your playroom that will be interesting for both age groups
For example, we have a mirror on the floor that both kids are obsessed about. Or some of the toys are equally interesting for them, as this sensory bottle or this mushroom peg set.
That's probably all my thoughts on how to organize a space if you have a mouthing baby and a toddler in the same playroom.
What would you add to this? Comment below, I'm always in a hunt for new ideas to implement.
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