It’s not easy when every few minutes your baby is putting something in their mouth. It can make life as a parent to a baby even harder than it already is, meaning you can’t take your eyes off them for a minute!
Babies like to explore the world with their mouths, it’s a reflex, they do it instinctively without giving it much thought! The mouth and lips are are full of nerve endings to it’s a great way for a young child to find out more about their environment! This is why we all know babies and young children must be supervised at all times.
However, this can make everyday life for us even harder with hazards around every corner!! Babies need to learn when it is safe to explore with their mouths and when it is not. For example if you are setting up a sensory box with taste safe items for your baby to taste and play, it’s ok for them to taste (one mouthful or so, not eat the whole lot!) but then when playing with something like play dough or outdoors in the garden, they need to know that it is not safe for them to do so. Children usually stop tasting their play at around three to four years old.
A few tips to help a baby or toddler to learn not to put things in their mouth..
• smile and encourage if bringing something towards their mouth which is safe
•tap their hand or remove the item saying ‘no’ or making sounds like ‘yuck!’
•try to swap the item for something that is safe for them to taste
•when introducing an activity remind them by saying something like ‘we’re going to explore this now but we’re not going to put it in our mouths’ be clear from the start
However, it is still bound to happen until they grow out of this need to put things in their mouths, therefore, I have put together a few resources to show you a handy way of adding small pieces to your sensory basket or play trays without the fear of your baby swallowing them!
Why not try adding any small toys or resources to these items to help your baby to play safely!
•clear food containers with secure lids
•clear plastic bottles (Home Bargains have a fab set of four!)
•plastic peanut butter jars (cleaned out of course!)
•clear plastic fillable baubles and decorations (Poundshops, The Works and The Range)
•ziplock silicone bag
•fillable snow globe (Hobbycraft)
•clear storage jars
Make sure you always tighten lids for containers and then double secure with tape or a hot glue gun!
All of these items can be purchased in poundshops, homeware stores or Amazon! I bet you have at least one of these items around the house!!
And finally, if you're wondering what would be classed as a choking hazard for your young child, this tip from Happy Hearts First Aid is awesome!