You have decided to do some work in your home office, but as soon as you enter it, you realize that it’s full of a mess.
It doesn’t take a long time to figure out that it’s your one-year old daughter who has just paid your office a visit and she has thrown all of your stuff around.
Naturally you feel frustrated and even angry that your stuff was thrown on the floor. In fact, this is not the first time it has happened, but now you have had it long enough.
Instead of wasting your time cleaning every day, you decide to take action and finally make your home office toddler-proof.
It’s available and it’s up for grabs
In the eyes of a toddler, everything in your home office is interesting: Wires, mice, keyboards … everything that’s very important for doing your work.
Unfortunately, a toddler doesn’t understand how to handle those things correctly and rather, to him they look like toys to play with.
In a typical office setup, the equipment is very easily available. And as long as it’s within the reach of a toddler, the items will be grabbed, inspected, carried off and even thrown around.
The home office is yet another playground for your young child/children and things aren’t going to change unless you make the necessary adjustments to your office setup.
You should really look yourself in the mirror
Yelling at your kid/kids when your stuff is thrown around in your office will rarely bring any desired results: Your stuff is probably going to be found on the floor in the future as well.
Rather than blaming your child/children, take a look at yourself in the mirror instead.
First, understand that if you don’t make the necessary changes in your office yourself, things will continue to be the way they have always been. Just take responsibility of the current situation and figure out how to change things for the better.
Second, remember that you were a child once as well. You were probably throwing and carrying things around too – not because you were mean, but because that stuff was interesting to play with.
If you want things to change, it’s up to you to do the changes. And the sooner you do them, the sooner you can also prevent chaos and disorganization in your home office.
Introducing a toddler-proof home office
So what is a toddler-proof home office then? Well, it’s just the same office you had before, but it’s organized differently. And when you do these changes, you’ll prevent the frustration you are feeling in the future.
A toddler-proof home office is not a closed office space – it’s still as open as it was before (meaning, you can keep the door open or closed as you wish). The only difference is that the office equipment is not available to your child/children the same way as it was before.
This newly organized office also prevents nasty things from happening to your child. For instance, when the changes are complete, there is much less chance for dropping something heavy (like printer) on his/her toes or hitting his/her heads on sharp corners.
It’s a win-win situation for both parents and children!
Create your new office space with these 7 steps
Do the following steps and then you can invite your toddler/toddlers in for a visit.
1. Turn things wireless. If there is something that my son is mostly interested in, it’s the wires. They seem to be so exciting to him and he would like to grab and pull them as he wishes.
If you have this same situation, cut down on the number of wires in your office. For instance, set up a wireless Internet connection; buy a wireless multifunction printer, wireless mouse, wireless headphones and a wireless keyboard.
With this one step alone, you can make your home office space less appealing to your kid/kids than what it was before.
2. Take care of the rest of the wires. Your office will most likely have wires – no matter if you turned most of your office equipment wireless.
Go to a local hardware store and buy some cable conduits to group and hide the rest of the visible wires. Not only does that make your home office nicer looking and easier to clean, but also it will be less interesting in the eyes of your kid/kids.
3. Move the Wi-Fi box. Something that I did just recently was to move the wireless router from my work room to another room. Obviously, those flashing lights in that black box were too interesting to my son, so I decided to prevent the unwanted Internet connection failures.
Now the router is in our living room behind the sofa and it’s virtually impossible for our toddler to reach it or pull the wires off.
4. Secure the sockets. Electric sockets are also something that our son finds very interesting. To prevent him to sticking his fingers in it, we bought outlet plugs for the entire household (not just the home office). When we want to use the sockets, we have to open it with a special key.
Make sure that your sockets are covered this way too since they improve the safety of your home.
While you are securing the sockets, make sure you secure the sharp edges (for example on your desk) as well by buying some baby cushions. That prevents him/her from hurting himself with sharp edges, if he/she falls down.
5. Put the devices on the desk. If possible, try to replace the separate printer, fax and scanner with one multifunctional device. This helps the management of your devices and it’s easier to put it out of the reach of your kid/kids.
In my case, I have lifted the multifunctional device to the desk and it’s not reachable to our son. This way there is no danger of dropping the device on him or on the floor.
6. Put locks to the cabinet doors. Go through your drawers and clean them from things you don’t want your toddler/toddlers to grab. This could be any important papers, staplers, pins or even pens. Find an alternate location for these things – a place where your kid doesn’t have access to.
Finally, you could even put locks on the doors that you don’t want your child/children to open. This gives yet another level of protection to your papers and you don’t have to enter to a home office where the floor space is covered by papers.
7. Keep on tweaking. Ask you kid/kids for a visit to your home office every once in a while. Only that way you can spot new places that you should secure or organize further.
Don’t underestimate your children as they can easily spot a wire, a paper or other office equipment that you may have missed.
As you can see, it’s important to reorganize your home office when you have a toddler/toddlers in your home. This way you can keep your office space as clean, secure and organized as possible and you don’t have to clean it up every time before you start working.
With these simple adjustments, you can make your home office a toddler-proof place very easily.
Over to you: How do you make sure your home office is toddler-proof?