Why you should not overprotect your baby

By Richard C. Woolfson   — August 07, 2017
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    Every parent wants to protect her child. Naturally, you want your baby to stay safe as he enjoys life to the fullest, and to avoid upset and injury if at all possible. But the line between reasonable safety precautions and overprotectiveness can become blurred.

    Overprotection stems from love and a desire to prevent harm – and that’s nothing to feel guilty about. On the plus side, a baby who is sheltered from life’s knocks remains unscathed from the stresses and strains of everyday life that other children his own age may experience.

    He is less likely to hurt himself (for example, he isn’t allowed to play anywhere unsupervised) and less likely to become upset (he is allowed to play only with gentle kids who won’t be aggressive towards him).

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    But remember that your little one needs the freedom to explore, so that he learns how to set limits for himself and to take responsibility for his own actions. That won’t happen if you remove all possibilities of risk by covering him in bubble wrap at the very age he needs to interact with his surroundings.

    Research has found that there are several characteristics associated with a child raised this way, including the lack of self-confidence. He grows up being over-reliant on his parents for help.

    In addition, he is likely to be afraid of tackling new situations and challenges. Coping with the unexpected proves too much for him. For instance, he may become tearful when he is given a new puzzle to play with.

    And when a baby is overprotected, his natural urge to explore his surroundings is inhibited by overly stringent safety rules. While other young kids experience the joy of learning through hands-on discovery, this baby is allowed only to gaze passively at the exciting world.

    To help your little one stay safe and yet give him room to explore, consider these suggestions:

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  • Have a realistic perspective
    3 / 7 Have a realistic perspective

    True, the world can be a dangerous place and you do need to exercise sensible caution. But remember that your baby learns through experience. If you keep him too sheltered, he’ll miss out on those vital opportunities.

    Related: The day I realised I was overprotecting my child

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  • Take sensible precautions
    4 / 7 Take sensible precautions

    It’s still important to keep curious fingers away from everyday hazards in your home. Make sure that you put covers on the electric sockets and childproof locks on cupboards.

    Also, keep the first-aid box with medicine out of reach.

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  • Don’t over-react
    5 / 7 Don’t over-react

    Even with safety measures in place, there are bound to be moments when your baby pushes the limits and hurts himself.

    When that happens, comfort and reassure him, and then immediately set him on his playful way once again.

    Related: This is what you should do if toddler cries easily over minor falls and injuries

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  • Make it a learning experience
    6 / 7 Make it a learning experience

    If he does injure himself while playing, teach him how the incident could have been avoided. The more you talk to him about what he can do to keep himself safe, the more he will learn to behave responsibly.

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  • Expose him to different play activities
    7 / 7 Expose him to different play activities

    Your little one learns more effectively when he has a range of play opportunities, from indoor to outdoor areas. That’s why it’s good to let him play in the park or in the ball pool.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: 7 fun indoor playgrounds in Singapore to check out

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