I can’t be the only Mom who gets tired of saying “no.” “No, you can’t climb on the counters.” “No, you can’t ride the dog around the house.” That’s all within the first 15 minutes of waking up. It’s EXHAUSTING! Parents aren’t the only ones who get tired of hearing “no.” Imagine being constantly told NO to everything you want to eat, play with and climb on… all while still having limited emotional coping mechanisms. It’s a lose/lose situation. This is where the YES Space comes in.
A YES Space is a room or enclosed area where everything within it is kid-approved. There’s nothing in the YES Space that they can’t touch and play with. There’s nothing that can hurt them. It helps children develop independent play, build their concentration, work on their decision-making skills, explore the freedom of movement and experience more calm and happiness. It’s perfect for daily playtime or when you need to do something crazy, like a shower.
I choose my son’s room to be his YES Space. While we’ve reshaped our shared spaces to be more toddler-friendly, we have 98% of his toys stored in his room to regain some sanity throughout the rest of the house. His room is all about entertainment for his specific age and interests. It’s also completely baby-proofed so that I never have to worry about his safety while he plays in there. His toys are easy for him to access, but I don’t keep all of his toys out at once so that he doesn’t become overwhelmed with options. By rotating toys, he also feels like he gets to play with “new” toys! Among the toys he has out are books, puzzles, cars, blocks, washable art supplies, musical instruments, a slide, mini trampoline, climbing blocks and soft toys.
Tips for Creating your Yes Space
- Focus on safety. Cover all outlets and sharp corners, hide cords (blinds and electrical), and anchor all furniture
- Keep toys in easy reach so kids don’t get frustrated
- If there’s something in the area they shouldn’t touch or play with, keep it out of reach and out of sight
- Store special toys in there that they only get to play with during independent playtime
- Be mindful of toys that make a mess or can break. If you know you would freak out if your child draws on the wall with crayons, don’t keep them in the room. It is your responsibility to make sure that this room can be used freely for them
- Be realistic on what rules your child can and cannot follow based on what’s developmentally age-appropriate
I can honestly say that finding the balance between having an “adult,” yet toddler-safe, living space and a YES Space for my son has improved our home. Knowing there’s a safe place for my son to play, learn and explore without me having to oversee every moment is a breath of fresh air and an opportunity for growth and freedom for my son. No matter how you parent or how you set your home up, remember that you’re doing a kick butt job; there’s no one-way to parent. Raising little people is hard and we’re all in this together, mamas.
By: Gabrielle Tullis