Toddlers scramble out of
their strollers, climb on anything handy, and insist on being picked
up because they want to see better and reach farther. When a child
stands on the floor, he can’t look out of most windows. Beds and
toilets seem very high and big, and doorknobs and light switches are
In public places, almost nothing is placed at a child’s eye level.
One mother walked into a health clinic and introduced her
three-year-old son to the receptionist, who was sitting behind a
high counter. The boy couldn’t see anyone to say hello to and just
stared at the wall in front of him until the woman peeked over to
look at him.
When a child goes to a public bathroom, the toilets, sinks, towels,
and dryers are all out of reach. Most water fountains are too high
for him to use, and most of the interesting features of stores and
restaurants—cash registers, cafeteria counters, bakery bins—are out
of sight. When he has to sit in a stroller, his view is even more
To see what your child sees, get down to his level and look around.
You won’t see your own kitchen sink or the tops of your tables. In a
store, you won’t be able to look at what people are doing behind
counters or see most of the interesting merchandise. You’ll notice
that at nursery schools and day care centers everything is at eye
level, and all the tables, chairs, and shelves are easy for children
Once you see how unsatisfying your child’s view can be, you’ll
understand why he wants to climb and be carried. Pick him up often
so he can see what is happening around him, let him sit on store
counters (while you carefully supervise), and provide safe stools or
pillows at home so he can climb a little and see more of his world.