DS turned 2 in april and I'm expecting our next baby in September. I interact and play with him extensively throughout the day and also encourage playing alone in our dining/family room while I'm in the kitchen or another room. We have a long bar I can peer over and see what he is doing. He takes the chair from the dinner table and slides it over to the bar so that he can climb on the bar and take whatever he wants. Other than this, he is generally pretty safe to be unsupervised for little chunks of time.
I know that realistically the only solution to handling the danger of him getting on the bar and falling or taking something off the bar that could be dangerous for him is prevention and supervision, but I also feel it is time he learned consequences and boundaries. It's not realistic for me to secure the bar 100% and this is a safety concern. One time when DH was watching him he managed to get on top of the bar and could have crawled into the kitchen and/or fell off the bar.
First of all, I try to make sure he isn't bored or not getting enough redirection. But ultimately, every few days, he will try to move the chair over to the bar. I tell him he is not supposed to move the chair over to the bar, advise him to stop moving the chair, and usually he listens the first time and we go about our business. But the other half of the time he grins and moves the chair anyways, while I stand there and tell him to stop.
This is when I start my warning and tell him that he is not supposed to do it and that if he does it he will go into his crib. He knows what this means and stops most of the time. When he doesn't, I come over and put him in the crib. He starts of with crying and saying "no crib!". I feel terrible, but I put him in anyways and quickly explain why he is in the crib then I walk away from 30-60 seconds. During this time he is upset and I'm upset. Then I come back and again explain to him that he should not move the chair over to the bar, ask him to say sorry and give me a huggie, which he does (heartbreaking). Then I put him back by the bar and tell him to move the chair back over to the table, which he does, then we find another activity to play and I go back to the kitchen assuming he isn't bored.
He generally does not try to do it again unless he thinks I won't see him, but I always catch him moving the chair and come in.
My inlaws are visiting and don't approve of timeouts. They are from India and can't understand why it's even necessary. I don't have child nannies, cooks, and housekeepers, so I have to do things to teach my son boundaries, unlike what happens in India for them. I have barely slept wondering if I am doing something wrong.
I would love any informed input. Thanks.