Why is dismounting furniture properly important?
As your baby becomes better able to move around, they are naturally going to want to explore this newfound mobility. Unfortunately, due to their lack of a sense of danger, coupled with their soft bodies, this could lead to some nasty bumps and falls as they learn how to navigate their surroundings and dismount safely, unless your home has been made childproof. One of the most common fall injuries for babies is related to falls off of furniture; this is because it is harder to childproof furniture (whilst at the same time keeping it comfortable for you!), and therefore babies can find themselves in trouble whilst attempting to slide off. Therefore, it is wise to teach babies the best way to dismount furniture.
How do I teach my child to dismount properly?
Believe it or not, this is best done as soon as they are mobile. This may seem silly, but there is evidence, namely from the Instagram page milestones.and.motherhood, that it is worth doing; her little one started ‘furniture falling’ at the tender age of just 4 months old, and had it (nearly) mastered by 11 months old! Our best guess is it is a case of unconscious procedural memory that kicks in once the baby gets used to the process of safely tumbling off the furniture. Regardless, here is the best way to teach your child to safely get off furniture:
- When you see that they are attempting to dismount the couch/sofa, it will most likely be a head-first attempt, in typical baby fashion. Gently grab their waist at this point.
- Turn them 180 degrees, until they are dismounting the couch feet first; it is also advisable to have them be on their belly for this.
- With hands still around their waist, slowly let them slide themselves off the furniture.
- Keep hold of them until their feet have touched the ground, then let go, so they can realise that they have successfully dismounted. Then praise them! It will help to build positive reinforcement around the idea of dismounting in this safe way.
- Every time they go to dismount, repeat this process, except gradually lessen the supporting hands around the waist; eventually you will barely be interfering in the process at all!
It is only natural to be worried and overly protective of your little one during this process, especially if you start them very young; but persevere with it, and you will soon have the peace of mind of knowing that your child can safely dismount furniture, and will eventually be able to do so unsupervised.
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