You are so lucky! Your little one(s) will benefit greatly from the opportunity to explore, be physically active, and get a good dose of vitamin D. But first, you will need to babyproof your yard.
First things first
Make sure your yard has a fence that your babies or toddlers cannot get out of, and if possible one that others cannot come into without your explicit permission. Having these security measures in place will ensure that your child stays safe during those inevitable few seconds where you are not around. Having said that, always supervising very young kids out in the yard is essential to their safety obviously. I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, but this is something that is always worth mentioning. An awful lot can happen in a very short amount of time, and that is why the whole concept of babyproofing exists in the first place.
For some parents, the biggest worry relating to outdoor play is that someone will come along and kidnap their kids. While that is theoretically possible, it is also statistically highly unlikely. The biggest dangers lurk much closer to home. Do you have a pond in your backyard? If you are very fond of it, maybe because you keep fish or rare plants there, make sure to put a secure fence around that. Babies, toddler and even older kids have drowned in ponds in no time at all before. You'd be even better off temporarily getting rid of your pond and converting it into a sandpit where your children can enjoy hours of harmless fun instead.
Remove poisonous plants from your garden
There is no doubt that plants and flowers can be a beautiful source of both entertainment and education for kids of all ages. We moved house last year, and the garden is one of the biggest positive changes for my kids. But unless you are sure that the flora you keep in your backyard aren't poisonous, they can turn into a disaster very fast. Here are some plants that you need to watch out for:
- Most types of berries
My best piece of advice for those who are, like me, starting out tending a yard without knowing anything about plants would be to visit a plant nursery with very knowledgeable staff. We have one very close to us, and they have been such a great help advising us which plants and flowers to place into our garden, and which to avoid. If you already have an existing garden, hiring an experienced gardener to inspect it may be the way to go. Besides poisonous plants, you will clearly want to look out for those with thorns, such as roses.
Swings, trampolines and other play instruments can provide a wonderful outlet for your kids. Everyone in the family will be grateful if kids are able to spend some of that energy little ones are famous for in a healthy way in the yard! But beware in this area, too, a lot can go wrong. How can you make sure that everything is safe? Some ideas:
- Swings are great, but kids will fall off. Make sure their landing is soft. Do be extra careful with slightly older kids, who will want to do acrobatics on swings that can result in broken bones, knocked-out front teeth and the like.
- Playhouses, too, have a big potential for falls. Kids will fall, of course, but you don't want them to fall from great heights.
- Make sure your play instruments have safety certificates. I would advise against buying these items second-hand, since you simply do not know what happened to them that can make them unsafe.
If cars come into the same yard where your kids also play, this is something else to watch out for. Besides keeping a very close eye on playing children, you will want to put a noticeable sign up for any driver that may come into your yard (like the mail delivery van). You can never be too careful.