Years ago a woman at church gave me a suggestion for my first, toddling daughter at Christmas-time. It seemed so simplistic at the time that I couldn’t imagine it would work! Yet here I am. I’ve used this tried and true trick for about seven years now, and it’s worked every single time. Even with my last wild child who helped fill my quiver to overflowing and lock the doors of my womb forever more. Bless her heart.
As a new mom eight years ago I worried how I would keep my precocious toddler away from my tree. I’ve always been the sort who decorated my tree in an heirloom style. I had ornaments my mother had gotten as a young woman in Germany. I had the first glass balls I had ever owned, ones my mom had plucked from her own tree to help me fill my branches. I even had the Snoopy ornament from my first Christmas as a baby. I had gotten most of these from boxes, after my mother’s recent death, and clinging to these memories helped me. So thoughts of my child toppling over my tree filled me with dread, and I expressed such to the ladies at church one day after the service so many years ago.
Just yesterday my spouse found an old photo on his phone I had sent him of our third child enjoying the Christmas tree. And earlier in the day, I had seen elaborate fences and barricades decorated with wrapping paper and bows to keep toddlers away from the tree during the holiday season. The photos I saw were ways to keep young children away from the tree, but the one my husband found was of our crazy toddler enjoying the tree. We had gone through the terrible twos three times, and made it through the Threenager Tornado in triplet. Through that time we had suffered zero tree incidents and absolutely no, I repeat no broken ornaments. So what’s our secret?
We did it without barricading the tree or putting it on a table. We found a way to survive Christmas through the toddler years, and it’s called “The One Finger.”
As a new mother, the older and more experienced mom at my church explained to me that I didn’t have to hide my tree. I just had to give limits. She told me about The One Finger rule.
Basically, you tell your smart toddler (because they’re all way smarter than you think), “one finger!”
By giving this command you’re allowing them the one thing they really, really want. To touch it! Young children learn best through tactile stimulation, by touching and feeling. They love to experience new things hands on. So when they first see the amazing sight of a Christmas tree they want to touch it. And touch it bad! When you don’t let them it actually causes more tree mishaps and ornament disasters. But by allowing them to experience the tree with their fingers while still placing limits, you end up with a delighted child and happy Mommy.
I know, it sounds too easy, but try it and you’ll see. If you give them the strong and authoritative instruction of “One Finger” when they first encounter the Christmas tree they’ll follow it. You most likely will have to remind them with this two-worded command the first few encounters, but it will stick. They will be so awestruck by the sights and sounds of Christmas. Allowing them to touch it (even with just one finger) and experience it for themselves is enough to satisfy their little minds. It won’t be so off-limits and enticing either. They won’t be itching to pluck an ornament off the tree when you’re not looking. Trust me, and give it a try.
It’s the easiest Christmas hack ever to toddler-proof your tree without having to actually toddler-proof it! It’s so simple I almost felt silly sharing it, but I’m so glad that other mom shared it with me. So enjoy!