How do I get my toddler to leave the presents under the tree alone??

Traci - posted on 12/18/2009 ( 118 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 17 months old, and of course she found the presents under the tree, but she wont leave them alone, even if we tell her no. What can we do to teach her not to touch them?

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[deleted account]

What part of "no" don't you understand!!!!!!!!!!!!! Teaching them what that word means at a very young age will benefit "you" throughout your life while they are under your jurisdiction. I'm from the "old school"--My grandchildren know, even now, when I say "no" that IS what it means. Good luck!!

Ruth - posted on 12/18/2009

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lol you think she wants the presents, she probly really wants the papper, give her some of the papper to have as her own and watch her ball it up and play.

Regina - posted on 12/20/2009

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At 17 months, put the presents away. Save your sanity!



There is plenty of time to teach her the no touch skill. Putting the presents away will de-stress the holiday and make it better for all of you.

[deleted account]

I am a firm believer in telling a child 'no' I have three children myself and I am a childminder. I currently look after a 9 month old baby who is crawling and very inquisitive. She crawled over to the tree today (and all the presents are there). I said a a a a a and she looked at me. I said No, don't touch,picked her up and moved her away, she attempted to go back, so I repeated a a a a a, No, don't touch. After the third time, she crawled to the presents, looked at me, then crawled away. Babies learn very quickly. If you are a mum who puts everything away, or distracts their baby until they are 'old enough to understand' STOP They DO understand and you need to teach them not to touch things as soon as they can crawl. Good luck, but you may have left it too late to teach your child the meaning of the word 'no'

Joelle - posted on 12/21/2009

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plastic tubs with lids!!! then i put a couple at the base of the tree and my VERY CURIOUS 22 month old didnt bother it really.. i only had to tell him no once after he pulled off an ornament off the tree.. but yea.. plastic totes or even a garbage bag just so nothing looks shiny and interesting.. then xmas eve after they go to bed.. set it all up for fun for xmas morning

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118 Comments

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Monique - posted on 12/19/2011

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usally i dont put presents under the tree till christmas eve, when santa comes. but this year my boyfriends bother and his girlfriend decided to bring their presents early this year. i was having the same problem with my 20 moth old. i brought out here old playpen and put the presents in it. now she can look at them and be excited, but she cant reach them.

Kathleen - posted on 12/29/2009

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Don't put anything under the tree until Christmas Eve. I am still doing it with my children and they are 11, 18, 23, and 25. No presents go under my tree until Chistmas Eve after my youngest is sleeping. He still believes in Santa and no is telling him other wise.

I hope this helps.

Kathy Carroll

Cellina - posted on 12/27/2009

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Wow - I must be spoilt. Our kids (3 and 6 yrs) have never touched the presents under the tree. My 6 year old came in for cuddles on Christmas morning around 7.30am and asked if he could open his santa sack. Our 3 year old did not get up until 8am and again asked to open the santa sack. The presents styaed untouched under the tree until after we had all showered. I am not sure how or why we got this lucky but I think if you focus your kids on something else rather than the fun wrapping and the presents they will learn.

Stephanie Michelle - posted on 12/27/2009

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Quoting annemarie:

Don't have the stupid ritual in the 1st place....there, problem solved!



wow. some people like having the 'STUPID RITUAL'. no need to be so cruel about things.

Tammy - posted on 12/27/2009

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I have to say I only put the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve when the kids are asleep. It is safer that way. My friend however puts hers there early and my children found theirs under the tree and I had to be creative to keep the Santa mystery going!

Patricia - posted on 12/26/2009

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We have made it a family tradition that the only presents that go under the tree until right before Santa comes are the ones that are going "away" to the houses of families, etc. That way there is no "competition" with Santa and the presents are safe. Now that my children are older (10 and 11) it has become one of their favorite parts of Christmas. It also helps keep the animals out of the presents.

Sandra - posted on 12/26/2009

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Good Luck!!! I know plenty of adults who wont leave them alone. I suggest not to put them there until Christmas morning.

Tiny - posted on 12/26/2009

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Teach your child about Santa from now and DONT put the presents out till he comes. I NEVER had them out till then. Even presents for other people.

Debra - posted on 12/26/2009

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Now is a good time to realize that want to pick your battles and I wouldn't bother with this one. Put the gifts away and have fun with your toddler.

User - posted on 12/26/2009

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That is a good question...I wish I had the answer because since my first child was born 6 years ago, I have always kept the presents wrapped in my closet and brought them out the night before Christmas while they are all sleeping ;-)

Hyla - posted on 12/26/2009

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My son is 6 now and he still gets so excited about presents that we have to hide them until christmas morning......hopefullly he'll be fine next year. Good luck!!!!

[deleted account]

I was (or am not) any Mother of the Year, but I say, what's it's going to hurt to let her get into them. First of all, she's too young for the concept" of gift giving. She sees "pretty things" so wants to investigate. Second of all...aren't Christmas gifts to be opened? So she's a little early. When my daughter was 3 or 4, she "forgot" she was to wait for Momma and Daddy to get up, before going downstairs. Dad was HUGE on getting the first look of surprise with the camera. Also, they could only open ONE before mass, and the rest had to wait - Again...a photo-op for Daddy.) She got into the gifts, and had 2 or 3 unwrapped by the time we heard her. She still remembers Daddy scolding her for opening her gifts "before it was time". She looks very sad in almost all of the pictures. She's now 29, and reminds her Daddy of how ridiculous it was to have to wait..."We were kids, dad!" They grow goes WAY too quickly to worry about the appropriate time for opening gifts. She'll "get it" soon enough...for now - let her go! And Merry Christmas!!!!

User - posted on 12/26/2009

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Lock them in the closet. (Not the presents, the kids!) Joking. My kids are 6 and 8 and I still don't put presents out till Christmas eve. I just know better! As a parent I've found that it's hard to teach kids not to touch things unless it is something that will cause them pain. It's best just to keep these things out of reach until they are old enough to resist the temptation especially when it comes to glass ornaments.

User - posted on 12/26/2009

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Quoting Traci:

How do I get my toddler to leave the presents under the tree alone??

My daughter is 17 months old, and of course she found the presents under the tree, but she wont leave them alone, even if we tell her no. What can we do to teach her not to touch them?



don't put them under the tree until she understands that they can't be touched till christmas or santa won't come - worked for me.

Denise - posted on 12/26/2009

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Hi i have 3 kids one is 4, 2 and a newborn i had that problem a few times.. what i would do is put all the presents under the tree and make sure there is just one under there for her to open before christmas that will keep her busy :) that's what i did and now my children know not to touch them and that they are for everyone not just the kids..

Kristen - posted on 12/25/2009

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you could always try getting some colored tape and putting a line a little ways in front of the tree. Tell her no when she gets close to the line that way she can start to realize that she can't get any closer to the tree or presents than that line. Or maybe she'll at least attack the tape instead of the tree lol. Good luck.

Rebecca - posted on 12/25/2009

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We have a family tradition of waiting until Christmas Eve until we put the presents out, which not only removes all temptation of getting into the packages, but also really heightens the excitement and wonder when the kids wake up on Christmas morning and there is a pile of shiny presents they have never seen under the tree.

Annemarie - posted on 12/25/2009

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Don't have the stupid ritual in the first place...there, problem solved!

User - posted on 12/24/2009

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U cant tell a kid no for ages then one tell them yes, its going to confuse them. Do what i do an put them under xmas eve when
my two are in bed. It also helps with the santa clause affect. If they see them there way before then they wont believe santa is real. Spoils xmas

Stephanie Michelle - posted on 12/24/2009

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My daughter is 16 months old was after the presents and the tree. We put up the six sided baby fence to keep her away from the tree. After about a week or two I forgot to put the fence up one day, I didn't even realize it until my husband came home and went to put it up. I told him that she hadn't messed with anything over there all day so don't put it up, I wanted to see if she would mess with it. We haven't had the fence up since. She learned, after the fence was up, that she wasn't supposed to touch it. Good luck!

Deb - posted on 12/24/2009

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That's why Santa doesn't come till christmas eve when the darlings are fast asleep:)

Lori - posted on 12/24/2009

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Well this is an easy one. Just do not put the presents under the tree. Little kids are going to be drawn to the gifts so I do not believe there is any other way then to keep them up. GOOD LUCK

Teresa - posted on 12/24/2009

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You don't! Even though it is probably working you to death to try to keep her out, memories that you one day will look back on and smile, are being made. Enjoy, my son is now 17 and how I miss those days....Merry Christmas.

User - posted on 12/24/2009

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I have not read the other posts so this may have already been said. I don't mean what I am about to type in a sarcastic way so please do not take offence. Why do you have them under the tree? It is not yet Christmas morning. If you are going to raise your child to believe in Santa then hide all gifts until Christmas morning. Also, If you do not want your child touching the gifts then put them up, easy!

User - posted on 12/24/2009

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Don't put out the gifts until they are asleep on Christmas Eve. A toddler (or even an adult) cannot help but check out what's inside the colorful wrapping paper.

[deleted account]

My oldest is 15 now, but the only way we were able to solve this problem was to not put any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve night, after they were already in bed. It made a HUGE impact on the kids when they woke up to find a tree full of gifts. Sometimes the best thing to do is not allow the temptation in the first place. Once they were a little older, it was not an issue any more.

[deleted account]

Easy! You don't put out the presents until children are asleep on Christmas Eve. I have a 16 year old and a 6year old and we still do this in our house. It keeps the magic alive for years.

User - posted on 12/24/2009

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Just explain that if she doesnt leave them alone santa wont visit your home which means less presents for her or alternatively keep a box of her toys near the tree she might then be pre occupied with her favourite toys and would hopefully leave the presents alone :) good luck xXx

Jessica - posted on 12/24/2009

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i told my kids santa knows if they r naughty or nice and that not listening to mommy and daddy is being naughty and that i will call santa and tell him to come pick up the presents untill xmas day.

Nina - posted on 12/23/2009

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i have a 3 yr old daughter and a almost 2 yr old son and for this christmas since i know that they would touch everything(this might be a pain) but im putting my tree and all of the presents out when they go to bed on christmas eve so when they wake up they will see the tree and all of the presents around it!!! if you already have the tree up then just hind all of the presents until xmads eve!!! good luck

Jessica - posted on 12/23/2009

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i just read this but like with anything else you dont want them to get into. you have to be consisent on saying no. i have a 8yr old and a 1yr old. i never used baby proofing.. it pays off in the long run cause you will feel good about walking out of the room knowing that they will not get into things that they know they are not supose too. with every touch its no cant be lazy have to stay on it every time..

Ashley - posted on 12/23/2009

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What we do with our daughter is we tell her its not time, and if she were to open them now, there wouldnt be anything underneath the paper, so thats why she has to wait til Christmas morning, and if she waits patiently, she might get one on Christmas eve, its worked really good so far!

Kirsty - posted on 12/23/2009

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i did it slowly first the night before xmas when my son had just turned 1 then 2 days before this year they have been there a week before i new it would be to much temptation for him if even i wanted to open them lol

User - posted on 12/23/2009

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My husband and I received a present very early in December, My 2 and a half old daughter woke up in the morning and found it on our table. She came back shouting, "Juju" present. We explain that it was Juju, mami, and daddy's present and we are not allowed to open it until Christmas, and if we opened it, santa would not bring anymore presents.

Sure she carried it around for a full day like a stuff teddybear, but she did not open it. The present survived two weeks and finally today it had a small tear, I told my husband, "Sasha I know what Dr. Bob gave us", he responded, "I do too". Well tonight I let Juliette share in the experience of wrapping gifts for her cousins, She enjoyed knowing that she was going to be giving presents to her cousings. She taped down the boxes and giftwrap and I let her peel the "to and from" sticker, We both wrote the names and I let her place the gifts under the tree anyway she wanted. It was a lot of fun and it was a good way to make two hours feel like no work at all. So the moral of the story is Tell them that they can only open the gifts on Christmas day and let them be part of the gift giving -gift wrapping experience.

Heather - posted on 12/23/2009

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I just told Devin that if he opened them then we were going to take them back to the store.. and he hasn't touched them once.. BUT he is 2. Yours will be a lot harder to teach because they are still exploring. You may just have to put them up until Christmas Eve. :/

Mycella - posted on 12/23/2009

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Well just last night on 12/22/09 I put gifts under the tree. I looked @ my 2,5,&6 yr old and told them if they bother the gifts Santa was going to take them. one of them poked a hole in one of the gifts. And this morning I took all the gifts and hid them. and my 6 yr old looked at me and said"momma wat happened to the present ?" I told her well Santa saw someone poked a hole in one of the gifts and he took them except for the one someone poked a hole in!!! She cried and I told her when he brings them back he espects them not to touch them. So now she knows not to touch them . And the thing is is that I know she was the one who did it!!!!!LOL!!! Now i put the gifts back and she said to her little sisters "Dont touch the presents or Santas goin to take them!!!! Because iv put them back when they were in their room!!!!LOL!!!!!

Nikki - posted on 12/23/2009

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I don't see the point in not letting a child explore. Yes, some days I simply would want to put away the presents. But this is an exciting time and as long as harm is avoided all is good. Make sure any delicate presents are way under the tree, out of sight. Glass ornaments high on the tree. No wire ornament hooks on the lower half as well. Each time she messes with a package, move her aside and on her level tell her no. Explain that on Christmas Day she can touch them but until then just look at them. If you do Santa, tell her that each time she is not obeying Santa is watching and deciding on whether she is good or bad. Or you could simply pack away the presents until Christmas Eve, no ornaments, a gate around the tree, tree in play yard or a teeny tiny tree on a table. But what fun is that? :D

User - posted on 12/23/2009

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Our huge real tree is in the front living room corner with one of those round gates around it! We bought ours when our 4 year old was younger and we know use it to keep our almost 2 year old out of the tree and presents! It definitely works like a charm and it is worth the money and I am pretty sure they sell them at walmart know! Works great as a play pen too when you are cleaning or cooking! Throw some toys in and let them go at it!

Jenna - posted on 12/23/2009

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best thing ever place a baby curall around the tree to protect the tree and gifts under it!! works like a charm. helps them to look with only there eyes

User - posted on 12/23/2009

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Just keep moving her away. I've always had the tree out from my son's very first christmas and now when hes 2 its no big deal. Hes excited for santa to come and knows we don't open the presents till then. He's allowed to touch them he helped me put them out. By trying to restrict something it just makes them more curious because he knows he will get them and we've always stuck to our word when we tell him things like this he's just not worried!

Milanna - posted on 12/23/2009

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Well, when I was little, my mom always told me the boxes were empty & that on Christmas Eve is when Santa will fill them with presents using magic. lol

Genevieve - posted on 12/23/2009

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i made a bok that counts down till the big day and everynight i will give cameron a piece of candy as we count down and let him put the presents in order of how he wants to open them on christmas day this keeps him busy and excited

Stacy - posted on 12/23/2009

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I say, either put the presents away until it's time to open them or put a barrier around the tree...like a baby fence or something. My baby is 14 months and sometimes mess with the tree. She's getting bored with it cause there is nothing else to do with it cause there are no presents under there. Otherwise, keep moving her everytime she comes close to it and give her something else to play with.

User - posted on 12/23/2009

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We had that problem with our first child. We ended up going out and buying one of those Playards- the six gates attached- It fits perfect around the tree :) I believe we ended up having to take a gate off... We still have it and plan to use it with our 3rd next year. Oh also its fun because you can decorate it all cute lol.. Have a Jolly Christmas!

Laurissa - posted on 12/23/2009

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I know christmas is just around the corner now but someone mentioned giving her paper to play with, this actually worked for my daughter. I have some cute little gift boxes, i gave one to her and if she wold go near the presents under the tree I would say where is your present and she would run and get the box, a day or so of that and she has not touched them since, she just gets her box to play with when she wants

User - posted on 12/23/2009

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I have a 17month old baby that loves the presents under the tree a lot. What we did is created a little table away from the tree where we put Christmas things on it she can play with. Like the little dancing, singing stuffed animals, a plastic light up snow globe, a plastic christmas present that sings songs. It has really helped a lot to distract her. She is now leaving the presents alone. And with the ornaments i put one on there low enough for her to reach. It is an elmo character that plays music. She is alowed to touch only that one and she listens. Sometimes she gets currious with the others so i just redirect her attention.

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