My little one has been putting her hands in her mouth all the time lately. I’m hoping a molar or two appears to explain this but until then, we want to keep her healthy by keeping dirty/germy hands out of her mouth.
The other night she was hanging out with her dad in the living room while I was in the kitchen. I watched an interchange and then my BCBA heart beamed with pride. My husband said “Hands out of your mouth” and then instead of repeating himself, moving her hand out of her mouth, or getting into a struggle of wills, he gave her something to hold in her hands. By holding that toy, her hands were occupied and the ‘out of your mouth’ situation wasn’t an issue for the moment.
In the parenting world we hear so much about consequences. There will be consequences for that choice…if you don’t take your hands out of your mouth….and on and on. It’s a breath of fresh air to watch a situation just dissipate by redirecting and preventing problem behavior from happening in the first place.
Prevent the errors.
Offer choices of alternatives.
Reinforce the good stuff!
Find strategies for parents in my book, Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity!
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA