Like many things where toddlers are concerned, keeping them contained can be tricky. Some toddlers never seem to stray outside of where Mom and Dad allow them to go. But others ... well, for others, childproofing products and other containment devices can be a lifesaver -- and a sanity saver for parents. If you don't want to end up with a nervous eye twitch before your toddler starts preschool, it's time to learn how to make him stay put.
Use your toddler's crib or playpen to keep her contained for short periods -- when you need to, say, use the bathroom or run a brush through your hair for the first time in two days. To keep her contained in a larger area indoors, install baby gates at the top and bottom of staircases, as well as in the doorways of any rooms you don't want her wandering into.
Install child-safe doorknobs on doors that lead outside, to keep curious toddlers from getting it in their head to wander out and see what's happening in the yard. These are inexpensive and easy to put on knobs. The only trick is, you'll have to show all the adults who come into your home how to work them, and those grown-ups are likely to have a harder time learning to open them than your toddler. If it seems like your toddler has figured out one type of doorknob cover, try another design.
Place a play yard in the backyard or on your deck to keep your toddler in one spot while you're enjoying the outdoors together. These come in all different sizes and are very easy to put together. You can find plastic play yards as small as a playpen or as large as a small room, depending on your needs. Put your toddler in there with some toys or books, and everyone is happy. You should even be able to read a magazine for a little while in a lawn chair next to her without having to get up every five minutes to chase her when she heads toward the road or decides to explore a rabbit hole.
Strap your child into his high chair or booster seat at the kitchen table while you cook dinner or do dishes. Either give him a snack or drink to work on while you're busy, or some crayons and paper if he's old enough. This is an easy way to keep him out from underfoot while taking care of meal prep.