Blanket training

I mentioned this in passing and several people wanted to know more.
The idea is simply to train a baby to stay on the blanket when you put him/her there. With some training, babies can learn to recognize the end of the blanket as a firm boundary.
As with all obedience issues, consistency is key. You don’t need to be harsh, but do make your requirements clear and be consistent.
Put the baby on the blanket with a toy or two, and tell her to stay there. Stay near. When baby heads off the blanket (and she will!), tell her no in a firm voice and put her back on the blanket.
When baby heads off the blanket again (and she will!), respond the same way that you would the 2nd time she touches whatever you just told her not to touch.
Get the idea? If you can teach your baby not to touch your purse, your glasses, your [fill in the blank], then you can teach your baby not to touch the floor. This isn’t mean or oppressive – your baby will play happily within the boundaries that you establish, just as your baby can learn to be content without digging through your purse or folding your glasses in half when she finds them on the end table.
You do know that babies can be taught not to touch those things, right?
Once the baby understands what is expected, you don’t need to stay right next to her. You can move freely about the room, or leave the room briefly.
You can lay out a blanket in a friend’s home and expect baby to play happily w/o breaking your friend’s knick-knacks.
This isn’t a technique that we have used heavily, but we have used it enough to know how useful it can be. It’s one that I anticipate using far more with The Boy, since I suspect he will be more destructive active in his explorations than his sisters have been.

Read more on Blanket Training here

Comments

  1. Beth and Mark says:

    When Jesus said, “let the little children come to me”, I feel bad for the ones that couldn’t crawl off their blankets.

  2. Oh, I am so glad I found this post! I have been wondering how this “blanket training” thing worked for a long time, and it truly sounds exactly like I thought it would be– you teach them to do or not do things in any other part of life, so why not teach them to stay on a blanket. :-) Thank you for this post!

  3. I would just like to agree with the reference to the fact that moms using this method indeed are CLOSE to their babies… It isn’t as if we are saying to train your babies to sit on this blanket for the rest of their lives. Did anyone notice the mention of using this at a friend’s house to keep from breaking things?? You can’t control EVERY environment your baby enters to make sure there is nothing breakable or dangerous in it. Should we have to hire a baby sitter each time we need to go to a meeting or just sit at home until our children are grown? The idea of blanket training is so that your baby can go with you and not have to be contained to sit still on your lap all the time, yet you know he/she is safe and can be somewhat involved in what is going on around you while baby plays happily. If you ask me it is much more loving to keep your baby with you, even if on a blanket, than to leave him/her to someone else to raise a majority of the time.
    By the way, thanks for the details here!! I love your site.

  4. I guess we all want different things for our children. I want mine to grow up learning, curious, questioning the world around them. To have their own ideas, discover new things, to make a difference to the people they know and the world around them and to feel confident and secure in themselves.
    You appear want your children to grow up obedient, unquestioning, depressed, feeling like their life is you futile and only purpose is to please others. Have your heard of the condition learned helplessness?
    If you believe in God (although I personally don’t) as you say then you should cherish what he made, he made babies curious so they will learn, it’s essential they experience life. It helps develop their brain, make important connections.
    I know the science behind infant psychology shows this treatment is detrimental for their development.

  5. this is ridiculous! If you are intent on raising children with zero curiosity because their instinct to explore has been beaten out of them – by all means – blanket train them!

  6. I think this is absolutely sick. A child’s natural inclination is to explore. You’re supposed to provide a safe environment for your child, not “train” your child like a dog. You should be encouraging your children to be independent beings who question what they read and hear, not to be blindly following a book or a person or a government. Your “training” will ensure the world of many more obedient Nazis. It’s just sick.

  7. Thank you, Leinbach2, for these excellent points! I think your analogies are right on. The primary difference between a blanket and other limitations is that the blanket teaches the baby to exercise self-control, rather than relying entirely upon external control. You’d think this would appeal to those who want to “empower” their children (I hate that word).

  8. leinbach2 says:

    I also have to wonder about the reasoning of the person who said it sounds like “elephant training.” It sounds like she’s making the argument that a mother who blanket trains her baby is adandoning her baby or something? A mother who blanket trains her baby is right there. If she leaves, it’s for only a moment or two, possibly to retrieve something from the next room. Much closer, I might add, than mothers who drop their baby off at day care, with baby sitters, in the nursery, etc. Additionally, this is no more restricting their curiosity than a high chair, a crib, a stroller, a baby carrier, etc. This isn’t a situation of mothers leaving their baby in a tiny space with nothing to do all day! This is mom using this when she must, and generally prividing things with which their child can entertain themself. Would people flip out if you set your baby in a play pen while you got something accomplished? Why do they flip out that you would teach a baby to obey? Babies aren’t brainless!
    Do people also think that teaching 5 year olds to stand in line at school is training them like animals? Having them raise their hand to speak in class? Folks, it’s the same thing! The blanket, however, is for baby’s safety (you could let your baby crawl all over while your back is turned but you never know what tiny thing they’ll find!) while THOSE things tend to be so teachers can herd children like animals.

  9. leinbach2 says:

    Do you crate train, someone asked. Are they referring to how you teach an animal not to pee in it’s living space? In people terms, that’s called potty training. And yes, most people do potty train their children JUST like people train the animals they keep in their home. Or, perhaps they are referring to the crates most American’s put their babies in that are also called “cribs” or “play pens”. A majority of American’s do indeed have their children crate trained, if that’s what you’re referring to.

  10. happy to be atheist says:

    Do you crate-train your children as well? all the biblical scripture in the world cannot justify training a child like an animal. Next think you’ll be chaining them up outside so you can enjoy a good gab with the quilting bee, rolling a newspaper up for a quick smack, or maybe a choke collar will fit the bill. Do they use a litter box?

    I looked up Blanket Training (and found you) because I was horrified to read someplace that the Duggar family – the Discovery Channel Darlings – use it, only they supposedly use a wooden spoon to scare the child into staying on the blanket. Is this christianity, or zoo keeping?

  11. The idea is to begin teaching our little ones to grow into self-governing adults.
    It’s much like taking a 4yo into the store and teaching her *not* to grab and eat the candy that she sees.
    We ask much less self control in the beginning, and far more from an adult.
    My “blanket” is the size of God’s Law and His restrictions upon my life. I too must exercise self restraint, and it’s a skill I began to learn right from the start.

  12. So since you are a self-proclaimed god fearing woman I will assume you adhere to the “golden rule”. That being said I have just one question for you…How big is YOUR blanket?

  13. nuwavemomma says:

    Sounds like elephant training to me. Except most trainers agree that a baby elephant should stay next to its mom continously for the first three years.

    It would seem unwise to create a home in which babies must yield their baby-ness to be safely cared for, or for the sake of modeling values they are too young to understand. To restrict a child’s curiousity to the confines of an arbitrary boundary is frankly horrifying to me.

    ” And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

  14. Lori,
    We’re just beginning to deal with lots of girly emotions and certainly not ready to advise on the matter. Maybe if you ask us in 8 or 10 years…

  15. Hi Kim- I stumbled upon your Blog- Wow! 7 girls! I am the mom of 1 girl and 2 boys w/ # 4 due in Dec. I will use the blanket method. With my other children our house was very small and I could see them from everywhere. But this one will be different. We have a split level- so lots of stairs and my oldest is now being Homeschooled. I will need that little one to stay put. Thanks. So much in training our children is that we need to be trained to follow through. I find that to be the tough part. Beautiful Family!
    Just one question- how do you deal with girly emotions.

  16. I think destructive is a good way to describe a boy’s tendancies! In my experience anyway, men like to tear things apart, at least my man does :) Great post Kim, I will have to try the idea with my daughter who is six months and just starting to move. Luckily she’s not nearly as active as the boys.

    Blessings!

  17. anonymous,
    I have answered you here

  18. not all children can be trained like animals…some children actually have a will of their own.

  19. Kili @ Live Each Moment says:

    Thanks for the instructions. What a great idea.

  20. We did this same thing with carpeting. I didn’t want to have the babies going in the kitchen or bath so I trained them to stay on the carpet.When we went to the grandparents houses they would stay in the living room because everything else was linoleum and they wouldn’t go on it.
    -Kathryn

  21. I am going to try that with my 5 month old…
    Now if only there were hope for my 3 year old. She has aperts syndrome and was an only child for 3 years and I let a lot of training oppertunities slide on by and I may have spoiled her rotton. And now she won’t listen to me for anything.

  22. Just as long as the blanket is big enough for a little wiggle room, LOL!

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