Are you worried your little ones are going to wreak havoc on your Christmas tree this year? Use these simple Christmas tree tips for toddlers to help keep everyone feeling merry and bright!
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Perhaps of ALL the symbols of Christmas, the tree is the most iconic. Whether you go adventuring in the woods to chop down your own tree (I’ve always wanted to do this) or simply unpack an artificial tree you’ve been storing in your basement(this is my reality currently), having a tree in the house really makes it start to feel like Christmas.
But if you have young kids, you know Christmas trees and toddlers can be a tricky combination.
I mean, it’s a large heavy object with dozens of sparkly (and very breakable) things hanging off of it. How is a toddler supposed to resist that?
So what do you do?
Put the tree behind a barbed wire fence?
(That might not really give off the cheery vibes you’re going for)
Only decorate the top half?
(Kinda sad for your half-naked tree)
Not have a tree at all?
I promise, you don’t have do anything as dramatic as any of those.
You CAN have a beautifully decorated tree, even during the years when you have toddlers underfoot.
We’ve had a tree every one of our ten years of parenting, and while I will admit we have had a few broken ornaments over the years (the most recent one was my OWN fault…can’t always blame the kids), my kids learned early on to be safe and (mostly) respectful of our tree.
And lest you think, “Oh she must have calm kids,” let me remind you…I have three wild and rambunctious boys! Calm and gentle are not the first words that come to mind when I describe them.
The secret to is prevention!
By making a few proactive choices and teaching them how they can touch the tree, toddlers and Christmas trees can coexist peacefully…ish (let’s have realistic expectations, shall we?).
From mom to mom, here are a few tips to help:
How to have a Christmas tree with toddlers
Tip #1: Choose carefully where to put your tree
Our tree is out in the open, in one corner of our big family room. Maybe it seems like a bad idea to have it in such a prominent place that’s accessible to little hands, but hear me out. Having the tree in a central part of the house means I can keep an eye on it more easily. I can see it from the kitchen, front door, and family room. You won’t be able to watch your child and your tree ALL the time, but having it in a place with good visibility will help catch more potential problems before they happen.
Tip #2: Invest in kid-proof ornaments (at least for the lower branches)
I do have breakable ornaments on our tree, but I keep them on the top half of the tree. They’re less likely to be broken by ANYONE there (including grown-ups). For the lower branches, we have soft ornaments, sturdy wooden ones, jingle bells (which also act as a great alarm system), kid-made ornaments and shatterproof balls (I think these look really classy and fun). This way, I don’t have to worry if an ornament gets touched, or accidentally knocked off the tree.
Tip #3: Teach kids the two-finger rule
Everything about a Christmas tree is alluring to kids, and one of the biggest ways they learn about the world is by touching and examining the things they see. So rather than making my tree off limits (that’s no fun for them and puts me in the undesired rule of policing them all the time), I give them a specific way they CAN touch and experience the tree.
From a very young age, I’ve taught my boys the two-finger rule. The rule is they can touch anything on the tree with two fingers (I demonstrate using my pointer and middle fingers, not thumb).
I stole this idea from an animal show we visited where they taught this rule for how to touch the animals, and it’s worked brilliantly for Christmas, too! The two-finger rule gives them the freedom to feel the different textures of the ornaments, to ring a jingle bell, and see how twinkle lights make fingers look bright red. It also gives them safe limits that keep them from grabbing and pulling the ornaments in a way that can break them.
Yes, it takes some teaching, and young toddlers will need lots of reminders at first, but they do eventually learn. This simple rule has been so helpful in our house.
Tip #4: Give them their own felt tree to decorate!
Way back in 2015 (when my blog was a brand new baby), I made my two young boys their very own felt Christmas tree complete with ornaments, candy canes, and gingerbread men to decorate it. It was a hit, and we’ve used it every year since!
Now, having a felt tree might not keep your toddler away from your real Christmas tree completely, but it will likely distract them for awhile. Plus, they’ll love having a tree that they can decorate over and over again to their little hearts’ content. It’s an easy, inexpensive DIY project that kids can enjoy all season long.
Now it’s your turn! How do you handle the Christmas tree issue with toddlers in the house? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Want more Christmas ideas for kids? Try these:
- Festive Printable Christmas Gift Tags that Kids Can Color!
- Christmas Jokes for kids that will make your day merry and bright
- 4-in-1 Christmas Scavenger Hunt for Kids (free printable)
- Printable Christmas Bingo Game