Parents are always on edge when a flower picking toddler is in a beautiful botanical garden with other plant enthusiasts watching. There is nothing worse that watching the disgust on a photographer’s face as your toddler picks a giant hibiscus flower. Thankfully this didn’t happen, but was I pretty on edge.
We all want our children to be able to explore their environment, especially when in nature, so how do we draw the limits? To a toddler mind it makes no sense that he can pick a dandelion but he can’t pick a rose. Why can he pick a flower in our yard but not in the neighbor’s yard that is 10 feet away?
It is important that our toddler learns that some behaviors are socially unacceptable, for if they don’t, we risk leaving them and us alienated from society. So unless we all live on 10 acres to roam, we probably need to teach boundaries.
The Beauty of a Fence
Unfortunately boundaries have been hard for our son to learn, but the one method that has been effective and painless for everyone is to make physical boundaries.
- We have a fence around our vegetable garden already, to keep out the dog and rabbits, so this was an easy one.
- We built a fence around our blueberry bushes to keep little hands from picking and eating not ripe berries.
- We put netting around our blackberry and raspberry vines that line our property fence, which keeps his hands out and the birds out.
I don’t like struggling with my son over things his little mind can’t process, so this way everyone is less frustrated.
When we go to the botanical gardens, I tell him that he can touch the plants with one finger but he can’t pick them. This only works for about 10 seconds before the urge to pick takes over, so I normally just try to distract his hands with food, rocks, sticks and other items that are acceptable for picking up.
As for my neighbor, I hope they don’t get too mad about the missing pansy…