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A powerful dilemma

Dear internets, please help me!

Monkey is obsessed with light switches and power points. Only the fully functional ones though – the disconnected switch left behind by our electrician is totally boring, even if I Blutac it to the wall.

Light switches are fine – he can’t reach them on his own, and I can use them as leverage to get him to come into the toilet with me.

Power points are another story. We have those safety plug things on them, but until now we’ve been trying to make them off limits. I feel like it is irresponsible to let a child play with power points. But it seems that our trying to keep him away only makes him that much more interested in them – it’s become a game to see if he can switch them on when we’re not looking. He’ll even instruct me to sit on the couch and then race for the closest switch, because he knows it takes me longer to get to him from a sitting start! (Clever little buggers aren’t they?)

And how bad is it really to play with the switches? They have covers on, and it’s not like he’s sticking a fork in there (yet (and we have an RCD in any case)). He just likes to turn them on and off.

Hubs thinks we should make certain all the outlets are safe and then just give up. Hopefully once the novelty wears off and he realises we’re not reacting, he’ll get bored with the whole thing.

But I’m really torn. It just seems wrong to allow it, no matter how sick I am of pulling him away from the damn things. Surely we should be teaching him not to touch power points? He definitely thinks it’s a game at the moment though.

If we let him get away with it now, will he understand that he can’t shove things into the sockets once he’s old enough to pull the protective covers off? I think so – see aforementioned smartness, and also hopefully he’ll be quite old (say 18?) by the time he works out how to remove them.

So what do we do? Just let him click away at the switches and worry about teaching electrical safety later?

Do you have a switch-obsessed kid? How do you handle it?

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3 comments on “A powerful dilemma

  1. glumbunny
    February 6, 2013

    I say let him play and see if he loses interest. However, my husband would FREAK OUT, so I can understand not wanting to do this. How do you handle things where you need to stop him from doing something? I hear the “it’s a game” thing just ramps up in toddler hood, and I’m not entirely sure what my approach will be. So far there are things Bun Bun does no matter how often I tell her not to, and things that she’s stopped doing, but no things where she does them just to torment me…

    ANYWAY, I hear we’re supposed to pick our battles, and this sounds like a good one to concede.

    I can hardly wait till you guys get him one of those electrical kits where you can set up your own circuits and whatever! Maybe in a month or two!

    • boringyear
      February 6, 2013

      Monkey’s first Christmas (he was about 4 months old) I saw a ‘build your own internal combustion engine’ kit and I was all ‘how soon can I buy him that??’

      What we do depends on what the thing is. If we’re playing outside and he takes his hat off or pulls up the sprinklers, we go inside immediately. If he’s in his tower playing in the sink and intentionally pours water on the floor, sink time is over. But the power points have been tough – we’ve just been moving him away, but it so doesn’t work.

  2. Mina
    February 14, 2013

    Oh, yes. It is most hilarious – for them. My 2.5 yo George went through this phase and it was driving me MAD. He was flipping all switches he found on and off. He was stooping in the supermarket by the big freezers and he almost turned one off. Fun times.
    As with anything else, you need patience. George still feels a incredible pull towards switches, but now it is much better, and he understands more and he can connect the dots cause-effect, so it is almost educational. All in all it took some good months though. Ignoring the first 10 times or so and just sternly saying NO afterwards worked best for us.
    I was telling my husband about something George understood during the day and it was like ‘seeing a lightbulb switching on above his head like in the comics’. And guess what? George, who was present, switched the light on. 🙂 He was pleased as punch to have us roaring with laughter.

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2013 by in baby talk, brain fry.
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