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Baby won't stop playing with the blinds

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We live with my husband's parents. They have vertical blinds in a few areas that I can't stop my son from going (common areas).  We don't want him to play with the blinds because he could break them or get hurt.  Some of the slats have been broken already (not by him) and are delicate.  When he plays with the blinds I get down to his level and tell him to stop and that he could get hurt or break them.  Now he's only 16, almost 17 months old so I'm not sure how much he's absorbing. Some days he ignores the blinds completely and some days he can't stop playing with them. I feel like a broken record (I'm totally show my age with that metaphor) telling him to stop all the time.  I don't want to lose my temper and yell at him and I SURE don't want to hit him. I also don't want to say, "No," for fear he'll stop hearing the word "No" by the time he's 2.  

 

Do you have any suggestions?

post #2 of 9
We use redirection a lot. DD is heading for the cat food dish (our equivalent deliciously forbidden thing) and I'll just pick up some blocks and say to myself loudly "mommy is gonna build a tower! I wonder how high I can make it.." as I stack a few blocks and DD will usually make a beeline for what I'm doing. I also have said "no thank you", "that's dangerous", "that will break", "not for DD", "that belongs to someone else", etc to get her used to listening but not be monotonous. I've heard that young kids/toddlers will often tune out the word no and only hear the action so I also try to get her attention in other ways. Our big thing is wanting to go into other people's houses so instead of saying "don't go there", I say "stay on the sidewalk please". When he's going for the blinds, I would explain "the blinds can break and hurt you. We don't play with the blinds." and engage him in something else "come help mommy put the apples in the bowl". My DD is 18 months and redirecting/explaining works quite well. I do find that if I let her do something else that's not meant for her (play with clean laundry while I fold for instance or gently pet flowers and play with pebbles outside) then she is much more cooperative. HTH. Good luck
post #3 of 9

11mo DD also does well when redirected with a safe, not normally for baby object - like a pot holder, wooden spoon, or tupperware.  She's fascinated by the dog bowls, dog toys, dog chews....heck I'm pretty sure she thinks she's a dog!  So I tell her it's not for her but that I will give her somethig that is for her and I've got toys in every room just for that purpose.  If she's super persistant, after the 3rd time pulling her away it's off to the pack n play.  She's getting better.  Doesn't always love hearing 'no' or 'not for you' (she will cry no matter how nicely we say it :-P) but it's part of the learning curve.  They only ignore the word or tune it out if it's not explained or not followed by anything - ie blank threats.  I don't not tell my daughter 'no'.  I'm realistic in my expectations for what she can understand and I don't repeat more than 3x, maybe that's the dog trainer in me...

post #4 of 9

I would make a point of always physically removing him in addition to or even instead of saying something.  We use lines like "Only mommy and daddy can touch."  If it's a constant thing, a little rhyme or song that you do every time might be helpful - particularly one that involves you dancing him away from the blinds or something.  Also, what is it about the blinds that you think he likes?  Is there anything with those qualities that he CAN play with? 

post #5 of 9

Can you block off the blinds so he can't reach them? Its always better to babyproof than try to teach "no" at a time when his little mind is under such pressure to explore his world and benefits from as many opportunities to do so and as few impediments as possible. Plenty of time later to teach what's best not to play with when he is cognitively better able to process that kind of thing, around age 3. Plus a lot less frustrating for both of you.

post #6 of 9

This is going to sound crazy, but, can you just let him mess with them for a while?  Then replace all the slats for your inlaws when he's bored with it?  

 

Almost 17 months is pretty old to be obsessing over vertical blinds...so, he might like the fact that they are off limits, more than the blinds themselves.  

 

Also, you can make some "These are not your toys" toys to accidentally leave out where he can get them.  At this age, toys bore them a little.  They like big people stuff... they want your phone, your ipod, your video games.  Kids need to explore, and pretty much destroy a few things along the way.  I know it's  hard to say "Mom, dad... we will owe you some replacement slats in a few weeks.... bear with us.".. but, it might be easier than telling him "no"...which he probably understands, but it fires him up anyway.  

 

It's like finding a box that says "Don't open this box".  You HAVE to open the box.... you might not have noticed it, but that darn sign makes  you want to open the box.

post #7 of 9

Can you just pull the blinds up so he can't reach them?

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

No, they're vertical blind and you push them to the side. Some days he totally ignores them, other days he can't stop. I wasn't sure if just repeating my request to stop and why to stop then trying to redirect/distract him was the right thing to do.  If it was my house we just wouldn't have them so it wouldn't be an issue but it's their house and they've always had a "thing" about people looking in (nevermind that it's the second floor living room in a dead neighborhood) and they like their rooms dimly lit.

I'm a fish out of water here. A gentle disciplining attachment parent trying to do things my way with the world's most hovering 'hover mother' who is now a 'hover grandmother' that has a coronary every time the baby taps his head.

 

I wish I could just let him play with them and then replace the slats but my old man said "NO WAY," because he doesn't want to shell out money for them and he's afraid baby will hurt himself.

 

I'm going to try and work more on distracting him with the "I'm gonna read this book," or "I'm gonna build a high block tower!"  Maybe knocking down the blocks is as fun as swishing the blinds?  He likes to swish them but sometimes I think he likes making me get up and tell him not to do it because it'll be the third or fourth time and he'll be grinning like a fool.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by darbycrash View Post

 

 

I'm going to try and work more on distracting him with the "I'm gonna read this book," or "I'm gonna build a high block tower!"  Maybe knocking down the blocks is as fun as swishing the blinds?  He likes to swish them but sometimes I think he likes making me get up and tell him not to do it because it'll be the third or fourth time and he'll be grinning like a fool.

 

Oh yeah, this is TOTALLY the age for the mad scientist, "She's done it every time before, is she going to do it again THIS TIME?  She did!!  I did something, and it made her do something!!!"

 

Not that it's not MADDENING.  But it's totally normal.  The other ladies gave you some good advice on how to handle it, but I just wanted to comment that you're 100% right that he's experimenting to see if the same thing is going to happen every time.  It's not manipulative at this age (I mean strictly speaking it is because he's manipulating the environment, but it's not like a malicious manipulation at his age). 

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