Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blanket Training 101

Yesterday, for my Tuesday's Tip {from a Mom of 10} I shared one of my secrets to maintaining my sanity with ten children -- blanket training my babies!  :)  Since I've received several requests for more information on how I actually accomplished that task, I thought I'd do a follow up post today.

As I shared yesterday, blanket training offers many advantages for baby, including keeping the curious child safe, teaching her obedience and self-control, and providing a sense of security in a strange environment. It also offers many advantages for Mom, including giving her a way to keep baby contained and safe while she cooks dinner or homeschools, teaching a very young child to respect boundaries, and providing a way to keep a baby or toddler protected and constructively occupied when away from home.  (Blanket Training is like having "a playpen in your purse!")  

Here is a suggested procedure for blanket training a baby:

Young infants should spend some time each day on the floor on a baby quilt.  I hear the current generation of moms referring to that as "tummy time," since their babies sleep on their backs.  (I always find that somewhat amusing, since I did it the other way around with my crew!)  This gets baby used to being on a blanket on the floor.

There's no need to start training a baby to a blanket until they begin to become mobile. The exact age will vary widely, due to differences in development.  I started training most of my babies to a blanket at around 7 to 9 months of age.

Place baby on the blanket on the floor with a few toys. Then take something like a rubber spatula (the kind you scrape a bowl with), and tap the floor or carpet all around the edges of the blanket and say firmly, "No Touch, No Touch."  Then, everytime the baby begins to crawl or scoot off the blanket, say something like, "No Touch the floor.  Stay on your blanket," while placing him or her back on the blanket. 

Baby will cry. Your heart will want to rescue your little one. That's why blanket training requires determination and diligence on your part! Keep putting baby back on the blanket!  Keep showing baby the boundaries.  Be patient and loving  . . . but determined.

Most babies resist having to adhere to the boundaries you set, so they will keep trying to crawl off!  Eventually, you will have to give the offending little hand a small pop with the rubber spatula, while repeating, "No Touch the floor. Stay on your blanket."  Try to always use the same commands when speaking to baby.  Be kind and gentle, but firm and unwavering.

You must be consistent or baby will become confused and the training process will be extended, making it harder on both of you!!

Start with 5 minutes at a time two or three times a day, and gradually increase the time on the blanket.  An older baby or toddler should be able to stay on the blanket for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, especially if you rotate toys.

At one point of my life, I was homeschooling 5 children, and had three babies/preschoolers who were each 18 months apart.  I put all three of them on blankets during our homeschool morning and rotated toys every 30 minutes!  I had little baskets of duplo blocks, little cars and trucks, Fisher Price Little People sets, stacking cups, a Lauri shape and color sorter, toddler puzzles, cardboard books, etc.  I also utilized nap time, play time with an older sibling, high chair time, etc. to make it through our school day -- but that's another post for another day!  :)

Let me know how your blanket training adventure goes.  Oh, and one more thing, make sure you praise your baby when he or she is playing nicely on the blanket!  Smile brightly and say, "Good Boy (or Good Girl) to stay on your blanket!"  :)

A note to grandmothers:  You aren't doing your grandchild (or your daughter or daughter-in-law) any favors by not enforcing blanket training when baby is at your house or under your care!  When baby is placed on the blanket, he or she needs to be required to stay on the blanket!  But, baby should NOT be expected to stay on a blanket all day!!  When blanket time is up, you'll have plenty of time to hold or love on that sweet grandbaby!  :)  


Caromama said...

Thanks for the advice. Think I will try this the next time around. Learning boundaries is good for us all.

busymomof10 said...

I agree -- we all benefit from learning to contentedly dwell within boundaries! May your efforts at blanket training yor little one be blessed!

Rebecca Lee said...

You recommend starting this at 7-9 mos. At what age would you stop using this method? Could this (or something similar) be used for a rambunctious two or three year old?

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