Childproofing your home is a serious issue for a lot of people, and there are many guides out there for anyone who wants to make sure their home is safe.
However, many of those sites treat childproofing as a one-size-fits-all approach, without factoring in how children change as they age.
They also get childproofing completely wrong. I’m here to make it right.
The first step is to figure out how old the child is that you want to childproof your home against. If you are currently raising a kid, I’m sorry, but this guide is not for you. You have hopefully already figured out what you have to do.
For the rest of you, look around at friends and family members who may bring a child to your house and tailor your home to those children.
For the youngest kids, you will find them the easiest and yet most difficult to guard your home against. They pretty much just sit there, gaping at the world around them. No mobility means no danger to your things.
However, they also make a tremendous mess, fouling up the joint, stinking like skunks mating in a sewage facility, and crying shrilly for no reason. This is what you are up against.
These kids don’t have much memory or recognition of cause and effect at this point. They can’t even follow movements well, or recognize that their foot is their own. You can’t really convince them to stay away from your home because they don’t know what’s going on or really communicate their desires.
So your goal will be to make them very unhappy in your home. Eventually their parents will realize, even if only subconsciously, that every time they bring l’enfant terrible to your place it becomes upset, and they’ll stop bringing the pooplord through your door.
The plan: make your home bland. Much like the famed Tyrannosaurus Rex, these vomit monsters are attracted to movement and bright colors, so make everything monotone. Beige or gray will work wonders as paint, and all of the furniture should blend right in to the surroundings.
Of course, this also threatens to just put the baby to sleep, which would encourage the parents to bring their snot rocketeers over every time they want a break from the abomination that is their child. That’s why you should also be sure to casually make loud noises every so often.
Getting something from the kitchen? “Accidentally” bang some pots together, or just drop a glass so it shatters. Develop a loud laugh that you overuse during whatever mundane conversations sleep-starved parents try to have with you.
Keep the baby on edge and disoriented, without anything soothing to pacify it, and you’ll soon make sure it’s unhappy every time it comes over. And once it’s unhappy, the parents will be unhappy.
You’ve just childproofed your home against infants.
I’m going to lump the babies who have mastered crawling into this group. Now we’re dealing with children that have some mobility, putting your things at risk. Now that they have some agency of their own, they present a greater hazard, but it’s also easier to trip them up.
Literally. They can’t yet control their movements very well, so put obstacles in their most likely paths designed to trip or entangle them. Create sharp angles, have cords hover half an inch off the ground, perhaps scatter the broken glass from the cup you shattered to irritate the infant who was just over.
All of these things will cause bumps and scrapes that the parents won’t take too kindly to at all. (Kids at this stage still can’t fully understand how much they don’t like your house, or make those feelings known, so we still have to work through the parents.) If every time they come over, their grubby-pawed mischief maker leaves more battered and bruised than is usual in the course of their stumbling approach to life, they’ll soon learn to leave their wobbly walkers where they belong: nowhere near your house.
Eventually kids do become more like miniature adults, but with terrible jokes and no ability to hold their liquor.
They are able to form and communicate their ideas though, and the idea you want them to form is that visiting your place is no fun. They should communicate that idea to their parents at every opportunity, making it unbearable to even think of bringing them along.
There are several ways to achieve this. A good plan will incorporate as many elements as possible.
To start with, kids love candy. The easy solution is to have no sweets in your place, but 1) of course you want some for yourself, candy is delicious, who are you even trying to fool, and 2) kids always find a way to have candy. If none is around, they’ll find some gross sticky mess in their pocket, which they’ll shove in their mouth and drool all over something you care about.
The better solution is to have terrible candy readily available. Having something there means they can’t use their disturbing powers to summon a sugary concoction from whatever pocket dimension they have access to, but it also means they will hate it every time they give in to temptation and take a piece. They will loathe the candy, and they will loathe the house that supplies it.
Also make sure you don’t have any toys or games. In fact, everything in your place should be off limits. Cultivate the attitude that all of your possessions are valuable and fragile, so that being in your home is like being in a museum. Keep them bored, so that every minute feels like hours. They will dread trips to your house and will do everything they can to avoid going.
Some people might suggest it’s good to have something for them to do to keep them quiet and out of the way. That may work for this visit, but you want a long-term solution. Don’t take this fool’s gold.
Another piece of terrible advice that sounds good at first is to let them run around outside if you have a yard. That should keep everybody happy, with the child running around shrieking as kids are wont to do, you and your friend/family member being able to interact like adults with the kid out of the way, and none of your stuff in any danger. Once again, this silver lining has a dark cloud.
At some point, the child will get tired, or need to use the bathroom, or for some reason will enter your domicile. Only now it will be sweaty, dirty, and covered in at least one kind of poop. This energetic ball of disaster will now be loose in your home, and this will happen again and again.
No, the point is still to childproof your home completely. Make the kid miserable, and you’ll soon be rid of it completely.