Christmas tree with a toddler?

Laura - posted on 12/10/2008 ( 111 moms have responded )

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What is the best way to have a Christmas tree with a toddler in the house that is not old enough to understand consequences of not following rules and dangers of falling ornaments or trees? Also, how do you keep little fingers from unwrapping gifts early?

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Carol - posted on 10/31/2009

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unfortunately, things need to come up off the floor with toddlers. Get a small tree that you can maybe put up on a shelf or on top of a wall unit, and don't put out the gifts until Xmas morning. Why tempt a child with things that you will only tell not to touch. That's what I did. Hope it helps.

Frances - posted on 12/20/2008

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put it up high, i have my tree on a table and the presents around it, she can see it but can't reach

Kari - posted on 12/19/2008

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I think that you are underestimating a toddlers understanding of conseqauences. I have a three year old and an 18 month; we put our tree up a few weeks after Thanks Giving and I just tell my 18 month that the ornaments are pretties and redirect him away from the tree. After a few days he lost interest.

[deleted account]

Jamie,

I did not say that my children never hear the word no...and about your other assumptions, they do not warrent a response.

I expect that if you touched someones xmas tree and the hostess slapped your hand and said "NO" you would be hurt and just a little angry. The feeling would be worse if she slapped your hand and said "nono dont touch" in a so called sweet voice.

My point is that many times these types of discipline tactics don't work. Your child may stay away from whatever they were messing with but not because they "learned" anything but fear.

My children are very well behaved and a pleasure to be around because i treat them with the respect that i would show any adult. My comments on this thread may have been seen as rude but it always takes me by surprise again and again the way people treat children even when they believe thay are doing what is right.

The children who grow up to be drug addicted etc have more problems than a simple fact of whether they're parents said no or not. You are making some wide arching assumptions that just don't make any sense.

People feel offended when some parents try to do things differently than the mainstream...

The latin root word of "discipline" is to teach not to punish. I find that i discipline, teach, live with my children more effectively when i trust that they are good and reasonable, intelligent little people. I can have aconversation with my children about consequences and right and wrong and many other things and not have to be this parental bully to see positive rewards.

You can rest easy because i seriously doubt my child will ever "rob" you or anyone else because i have not robbed him of his childhood and integrity.

Krissy - posted on 12/17/2008

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We let each child (ages 2 and 3) pick out one ornament (each) that they are allowed to play with...the 2 year old didn't quite get the concept, but it removed the temptation for the three year old...and when she didn't listen, she went to time out...it took about 10 time outs, but she finally gets it!

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Kat - posted on 04/21/2009

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Quoting Laura:

Christmas tree with a toddler?

What is the best way to have a Christmas tree with a toddler in the house that is not old enough to understand consequences of not following rules and dangers of falling ornaments or trees? Also, how do you keep little fingers from unwrapping gifts early?


Place tree and gifts (my preference) in playpin or hang upside down from ceiling, the new rage.  Also keeps puppies and kittens off the tree.



Kat

Kat - posted on 04/21/2009

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Quoting Laura:

Christmas tree with a toddler?

What is the best way to have a Christmas tree with a toddler in the house that is not old enough to understand consequences of not following rules and dangers of falling ornaments or trees? Also, how do you keep little fingers from unwrapping gifts early?


 

Tammy - posted on 01/08/2009

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I have a tradition we started when the kids were little. We have a family tree that gets decorated once when we first put it up ( with shatterproof ornaments until kids are a little older). Then I got some small 1 to 2 foot trees at the dollar store with some other shatterproof or hand made ornaments. You can get some battery powered lights that usually come in a string of 10 lights per string and run on 2 "C" size batteries. Get some pretty boxes or small tins ( no bigger than 4 or 5 inches, so that they fit under the tree) that  don't need to be wrapped every time they are opened and maybe somthing to put inside, but not necessary. Then the kids can decorate those trees as many times as they want and can leave the big family tree alone. They always look forward to doing that each year.

Danna - posted on 01/07/2009

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Don't put the presents out until last minute and I never did any decorating other than lights on our tree for years.

Ruth - posted on 12/19/2008

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I've read a bunch of responses on here and I think it is safe to say that parenting/discipline/training a child is a HUGE and varied topic. We all believe different things related, most often, to what we've observed either as children or as adults. Being parents is solely related to what you and your spouse believe is what you should do for your children. It may be based on your belief system or things you "don't want to ever do that your mom/dad may have done"! Any one relate?! But, I just have to comment that we can and should talk to each other with respect. period. I'm not a "you believe something and I'll believe something else" sort of person. I do see that there are absolutes in this world, but we can agree that we may disagree on some things. Parenting is as unique and individual as we are and will most likely vary as a result! What a boring world if there was only one way one could parent! :)

Stephanie - posted on 12/19/2008

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Well my son is two and a half and has broken was ball so far. In the beginning he was all over the tree but with in a few days he stopped bothering with it. I put all our gifts in our spare bedroom. I wrapped all his presents as soon as I got them and put them in the empty dresser thats in there. As for the bigger presents there on the top shelf of the closet. But all the other gifts we got for everyone else are just sitting on the floor in there. when ever he goes in there I tell them they are for grandma etc. and he leaves them alone. But putting his in the dresser definately worked be cause he never would think to open it.

Susan - posted on 12/19/2008

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I have three kids- 8,4 & 1. When the 8 year old was a baby I was worried about the whole tree thing. Instead of putting up a Christmas Tree I created a sort of Christmas Tree window treatment. I put down a layer of greenery, then lights, then all of the breakable ornaments. I got to enjoy the lights and ornaments, but they were up so high his touching them was never an issue.

In the years since, though, I've put up a tree and told the kids they can look, they can smell, they can touch nicely....but they can't play roughly. At other people's houses, they can look but not touch. I think you have to find the compromise for what works for your family... like anything else in parenting. Have a great holiday season!

Samantha - posted on 12/18/2008

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Rather than telling my daughter what she could not do with the ornaments (Don't touch!), I told her what she COULD do. I told her that she may SMELL the ornaments, because they were on a tree which smelled good. I know it sounds weird, but it worked for me and for a friend who tried it with her son. This is also helpful because while you can place the ornaments on your own tree out of the reach of your child, you will certainly encounter trees in other settings which are not necessarily decorated from 2 feet up!

Cynthia - posted on 12/18/2008

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Best advice is to decorate the tree with unbreakable ornaments near the bottom, put your most delicate, favs near the top. I don't personally put out presents until Santa puts them out on Christmas Eve (after the kids are sleeping). My 9 year old still believes!! Maybe you could have your toddler make his own tree to decorate...foam is an awesome craft tool for that and inexpensive...so they could have their own tree to decorate...maybe even use one you could make on the refridgerator and use magnet shapes to decorate and move around on their own tree....they learn shapes, have a sense of responsiblity and ownership...and maybe keep them busy for a lil bit....

Nicole - posted on 12/18/2008

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simple I learned not too use Glass ornaments when my son was almost 2 he thought it was a ball and threw one and the breaking of it scared him...So I wouldnt use any glass ornaments and if so, put them up high where he cant reach them also make a tree or a angel and let him color it inn it will give him the feeling that he helped decorate it.....

Amie - posted on 12/18/2008

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LOL I replied to this post when it first showed up and still stand by my way. My kids know not to touch the tree and have all been taught not to but I had to share the story of my lil one today.
She knows not to touch the tree, that it is not a toy, toys are for playing with and only toys. So she's running around with her popcorn popper toy, those fisher price things that are so annoying, and stops beside the tree, she looks at me and goes.. touch? I said no, baby doesn't touch only look (as I've been saying to her since the tree went up) and then she just stands there with her hand hovering over the branches going .. touch, touch, touch... LOL She never did touch it and went back to playing but man she's a turd some days.

Jamie - posted on 12/18/2008

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my daughter is 19 months old , we've had the tree up and presents underneath for about 2 weeks now. at first we had to tell her no, dont touch, but only a few times. i dont think that "putting things up" helps ANYTHING! how do they learn to respect your property if they never have the opportunity to learn??? you have to teach a child that no means NO! I have kept glass ornaments picture frames etc... within her reach since she was born, and while it can be hard at first, i find its the best way to teach them ! i have now made it through a year and a half and its paid off. i tell her not to touch the tree and she doesnt. i tell her not to touch the presents, and she doesn't!! she understands what she is and is not allowed to play with. she knows that NO MEANS NO. but its something i think u have to do from the beginning. i will say that it's nice to take her places and she knows not to TERRORIZE other peoples houses!! *people really appreciate it when your child can come over and they dont have to "baby- proof thier house first....

Ruth - posted on 12/18/2008

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I have a 3 (almost 4) year old girl and an almost 2 year old boy. I can't say I've really had a ton of issues with the tree and ornaments, but it is always a bit of "wow - new stuff I must touch" when we first set up the Christmas stuff. Our phrase/policy has always been "you may look with your eyes; not your hands". They know that when they stand by the tree, they put their hands behind their backs and look all they want! It works really great!! But keep in mind, the reward is hard won!!! The benefit is so worth the training!! Especially when you go over to someone's house that isn't child-friendly at all. It totally pays off! Hope it helps!

Victoria - posted on 12/18/2008

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My son is actually trying to teeth on the power cord of our tree lights! It gets really aggrivating because i know he just doesn't understand the danger. if telling him no and giving him something else to do doesn't work i would suggest a fence. There not cheap but can really help with home safety. they look just like the fence/gate on the rugrats! lol if you don't know what i mean just go to a walmart or babies'r'us or similar and explain what you're needing to guard. they should be able to help you. good luck! :)

[deleted account]

Our 11-month-old started walking a few weeks ago, so we put the tree up between the couch and side chair, and behind an end table. It looks stupid (and we can only see half of the tree!) but it keeps him away from it. :) It was either that or in the kitchen, lol.

Stephanie - posted on 12/18/2008

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I have a very active 18 month old and a 4 1/2 month old and I opted not to get one this year because I didn't want to have one more reason to tell her "no" all day long. She won't remember not having one this year and by next year she will be old enough to understand.

[deleted account]

It also helps to start disciplining when they are young. Than in the future you won't have as much trouble.

[deleted account]

I've heard from other mothers in my church that they put connecting gates around the tree and presents and that it does help. You can usually buy them at any store. I have even seen them at Lowes.

Liza - posted on 12/18/2008

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I don't believe in "baby proofing" I believe in discipline. After my 21 month old son (who is VERY active) broke 2 oraments while I was putting up the tree, he knew that I meant business about not touching it. He just looks at it and says "mama I want to hit it." I tell him no because it will break and he leaves it alone. Sometimes parents just aren't firm enough with their kids. This isn't just to do with our tree at home, but I don't want him breaking ornaments at other peoples houses.

Amanda - posted on 12/18/2008

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As for the tree I alway put ornaments that wouldn't break on the bottom of the tree. That way they could have fun taking they off putting them back on. It is hard for a child look at a christmas tree and say don't touch. So yes I have ornaments that may all be in one are on the tree,but who cares. As for the presents I just didn't put any under the tree until the last minute. This way I didn't drive myself crazy.

Carley - posted on 12/18/2008

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I have a 2 year old boy and he's facsinated with our tree, when I put the tree up I just had to explain to him that he doesnt touch the tree, I told him the lights where hot, and he understands that. Sometimes, they just need to know that no is no, you wudnt let them walk alongside a road without holding hands, you wouldnt let them sit in a car without a carseat and you wouldnt let them play with chemicals under the sink. We all stamd firm with them and they understand, the christmas tree was just another one in out house. good luck

Debbie - posted on 12/18/2008

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we have a 25 month old. We have a real tree on the floor in the corner. She loves the tree this year but has left it along so far. We've made it out to be special, but only have unbreakable ornaments, mostly metal fairies, robins, reindeers etc. from the shop accessorise. The only thing shes after is the gingerbread I hung on it! Presents don't arrive until 24th xx

Gloria - posted on 12/17/2008

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I have never had problems with children over a tree but I did with a mother cat and kittens lol . The children use to help with the tree and were told that it was there tree and if it fell it would be up to them to fix it . Gift I would put under on Christmas eve aftter having to rewrap after the kittens . LOL

Adebola - posted on 12/17/2008

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we have a six month old, how can i manage the ornaments around him.l am afraid he will put it on his mouth.

Melissa - posted on 12/17/2008

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I did what my mom did with us, I put our tree in a play pen. It keeps wondering hands off the tree, ornanments, and lights. And stops from the unwraping of gifts.

[deleted account]

My tree is blocked off from my 25 month old. She is only allowed to be near it when I'm in the room with her. I don't have the problem with the presents because they go out on Christmas Eve before we go to bed

Julie - posted on 12/17/2008

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Put any breakable or valuable ornaments up high. We put a gate around the tree so my toddler could not get at it or the presents. It doesn't look pretty, but it worked. I got this idea from John & Kate plus 8. The presents I would put elsewhere until the big day. She WILL open them!

Carole - posted on 12/17/2008

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I am having my 13-month twins for Christmas and I made them one with hot wheels on it. Hopefully they can be thrilled with it.

Nicole - posted on 12/17/2008

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My girls are 2,3 and 5 and we have never had a problem with the chritmas tree, the girls came with me and choose their own unbreakable ornaments and they each put their ornaments on the tree, I have found if the children are included in decorating and put up the christmas tree they aren't as curious and leave the ornaments alone, as for the presents under the tree,the only presents we have under our tree are the ones sent by relatives, I allow the gitls to go through each present and find their names and then they have to place them back under the tree this seems to works and they leave the presents alone after that.

LOUISE MARIE - posted on 12/17/2008

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i had the same problem as you last year , my daughter wouldnt leave the tree alone so this year i bought her a little tree for her room this year and she leaves our big tree alone now. as for the presants i wouldnt put them under the tree until christmas eve when the children are in bed, that way you wont have to worry about your child

Lori - posted on 12/17/2008

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By some plastic unbreakable ornaments and keep on top of "No touchy!". My best advice anyway. That's what I did with my kids. They also got to "help" decorate it, because the ornaments were unbreakables. Now they do it on their own and I get to watch. :) And the greatest thing is watching them follow the dog and say "Trekker, get out from under the tree!" lol!

Nicola - posted on 12/17/2008

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in our house my two and half year old understands that the christmas tree is only for santa to touch or else it makes him very sad. even the 9 month old knows not to go near it now. with presents i wouldn't bother putting them under the tree till christmas eve, even i would be tempted. good luck

Carolanne - posted on 12/17/2008

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I have a 2,4 and almost 6 year old. I think expecting a child to not touch ornaments or open presents, at such a young age is asking to much. We only decorate the top half of our tree, maybe put unbreakable, touchable stuff on the bottom. No presents. You could make paper ornaments with your child, w/ribbon to hang on the bottom , that way if your toddler breaks etc, no big deal. Good Luck.

Debbie - posted on 12/17/2008

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I'm going through the Christmas tree problem myself.....I just put the ornaments that he can safely play with within his reach so that "if" he happens to forget not to touch, nothing will break......and I don't put out any presents until Christmas Eve.....after he's gone to bed, lol.....

Ellen - posted on 12/17/2008

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Can't help with the tree - but for the presents - don't put them under the tree until Christmas eve....there aren't supposed to be presents there anyway until Santa comes!

Heather - posted on 12/17/2008

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Hi Laura...

I have two boys but did home daycare for years. My solution was to anchor the tree to the wall - a simple eye hook and some wire will do, and use plastic ornaments for anything they could reach. If it really is a problem, sometimes you can get a flexible gate/fence to put around the tree...hope that helps.

Sarah - posted on 12/17/2008

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Set the tree in a play pen. If enough room for gifts, place them in there as well.

Lori - posted on 12/17/2008

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ok Rebekah u dont have to b so rude. we r just doing what we find right for our children. we r trying to teach them that it is nice to have a tree but its a no no for touching the ornaments. then we will do so. we dont need ppl telling us we r horrible parents for doing what we think is right for our children. and there are many other reasons half of us put up gates around our stuff. so u think what u think. and we will think what we think. we all have our opinions and will do as we feel is right. so sorry if we arent doing as u like.

H. Ruth - posted on 12/17/2008

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Hi. I put up our tree the first week of December and Dean (the toddler in the house) has looked at the tree and touched it but really is more fascinated by what it looks like.

As for presents... They don't go under the tree until Christmas Eve. It is kind of like a tradition. I remember poking under my parents' tree (as a kid) and being told that everything will go "away" if the presents were touched. And sure enough they did. I didn't touch the tree after that.

User - posted on 12/17/2008

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Just a thought: as our children grow up and their world expands - the world will not accommodate them by only having things around that they can touch. What happens when you take them to visit someone in the hospital? A "curious" child who has not been taught to leave things alone that don't belong to him/her could do some serious damage to the patient or equipment. Or what happens when you want to expose your child to art by taking them to a museum - and it's filled with beautiful things that they can't touch?

If we don't teach our children when they are young that the world does not revolve around them, we do them a disservice.

My parents taught me from the time I was old enough to crawl/toddle that I couldn't have/touch everything I saw and wanted. Guess what? I got my little fingers flipped and I heard the word "No!" - but I learned and I'm not scarred because they taught me I couldn't have/touch/play with everything I saw.

[deleted account]

We used plastic ornaments in the beginning that didn't break and waited until Christmas to put gifts out.

[deleted account]

To be honest i am a bit appalled at all these responses!!

Slapping hands, taking away stocking gifts, time outs, gates and fences, assuming your child is an undisciplined heathen unless you say "no-no" and a million other negative things!!

Way to go....yay Christmas spitit!!!

I suggest as a Christmas present to your kids you all Google NVC, nonviolent communication. It just might solve all your problems not just the tree.

Really? it "hurts mommy's feelings to touch the tree"????

Just put up a safe tree with cloth or felt ornaments, make some homemade ones with your kids, let them ENJOY the holidays instead of being punished for their normal curiosity and feelings of magic that the tree etc bring.

Or how 'bout this...if you are going to punish your kids for being interested in xmas....don't put up a tree or anything!!!

Clementine - posted on 12/17/2008

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Hi,

My guess would be to decorate the top of tree where he will not be able to reach and set up gifts on Chris-max night while everyone is asleep.

Clementine

Lori - posted on 12/17/2008

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i dont do it kuz i am lazy or fed up. i do it as my way of teaching her that its a no no to go near the tree plus it keps my pets away from the tree. so what ever. ppl do things there way. and dont need ppl saying that puting things like that up are lazy or treating there kids like dogs. she is fine when she is at other ppls houses she leaves there tree alone. she just stands there and looks at it.

Crystal - posted on 12/17/2008

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OH! and the present thing-- i never put my kid's presents out until she is asleep christmas eve--its part of the magic of waking up christmas morning. but its also tradition that everyone elses presents stay under my tree until family comes over to open them. i do get some little things for her to open early as rewards for good behavior. and over the years, yes, i have found that you have GOT to hold back from giving too much. youll just end up buying more stuff! lol

Crystal - posted on 12/17/2008

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to lori who responded to my response-- yes i know all kids are different. but a lot of the time we get lazy or fed up and end up treating our kids like theyre the family pet and put up special things in the house to force them not to go near it instead of taking the time to train them to do the right thing. this is also helpful when you bring your child to someone elses home who doesnt have a fancy shmancy gate around THEIR tree. and while it is important to make sure children arent in danger, its just as important to show them how to function in a world that does not revolve around them.

Lori - posted on 12/17/2008

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to the last reply. ok that s good advice for older kids. but really u cant tell that to someone who doesnt understand santa. like our little tikes but i will try to remember that for future tries.

Sylvie - posted on 12/17/2008

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Santa Claus is watching you, but you can have his milk and cookies, we will put some more out tonight. Here's a little stocking with little gifts for now. wow look there's a present for santa can you make sure no one opens it or it won't be a present from you to him.

Nichole - posted on 12/17/2008

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I do a 2 minute time out. When i catch him touching the tree. I make sure I dont the tree either. Then I explain that he hurt mommy's feeling when he touches the tree

Tricia - posted on 12/17/2008

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I put pretty but "kid safe" ornaments at their level. That way when they did try to play with the pretty ornaments I knew they were safe. No ornament hooks!! As far as the gifts..... that is just too tempting!! Just keep extra wrapping paper and tape handy to re-do what the little ones undo! Have a happy Christmas!!

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