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Breaking a habit in a toddler

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IowaDove:
My 17 month old has the habit /need to have her hand stuck in my bra while sleeping. Now it's not the only way she can sleep and she often naps without her hand being there, its only when I'm holding her or trying to get her back to sleep that she does it. Oh and she often does it when upset or in public :-[ I'm not sure how to get her to stop, I really didn't notice it until she was weaned and now that we're expecting #4 I'm trying to figure out what to do. She gets really upset when I take her hand out, and I've even seen her do it to my MIL and 5 yr old on occasion, so I know its a comfort thing. Anyway, I hope I don't sound like a big pushover for not wanting to upset my daughter, its just that my other 2 never had an attachment issue like this before so I'm not sure how to handle it. I'm not sure what is an age appropriate way to deal with this if that makes sense, but I'm looking for some creative ideas. Any advice would be great! Thanks!

mykidsmom:

--- Quote from: IowaDove on September 21, 2013, 11:59:16 AM ---My 17 month old has the habit /need to have her hand stuck in my bra while sleeping. Now it's not the only way she can sleep and she often naps without her hand being there, its only when I'm holding her or trying to get her back to sleep that she does it. Oh and she often does it when upset or in public :-[ I'm not sure how to get her to stop, I really didn't notice it until she was weaned and now that we're expecting #4 I'm trying to figure out what to do. She gets really upset when I take her hand out, and I've even seen her do it to my MIL and 5 yr old on occasion, so I know its a comfort thing. Anyway, I hope I don't sound like a big pushover for not wanting to upset my daughter, its just that my other 2 never had an attachment issue like this before so I'm not sure how to handle it. I'm not sure what is an age appropriate way to deal with this if that makes sense, but I'm looking for some creative ideas. Any advice would be great! Thanks!

--- End quote ---

Give her a replacement.  Tell her that touching someone elses body in "that place" is not right and if she needs comfort she needs to get "x."  I would suggest a stuffed animal as they are easy to carry anywhere.  Try and use something she's already attached to (blanket, animal, toy, etc).  But you are going to have to essentially replace "you."  Anytime she reaches or touches you, gently remove her hand and say, "honey, go get your x for mommy."  Put her in  your lap with her comfort object, rock her for no more then 1-2 minutes and then tell her to go play.  You want to show her that you WILL comfort her, but not in the way that she's used to.  So no more then 1-2 minutes when you're in those training sessions.  If she reaches for you while she's on your lap or in bed and she already has her object, just pick up her hand and remove it and tell her no, she's not allowed to touch.  Be firm but loving and it won't take long.   I would do exactly the same thing anytime she goes for someone else as well. 

IowaDove:
Oy, this is not going as smoothly as I'd hoped....it's becoming a huge battle  :P she does NOT want a replacement thankyouverymuch!   :-\ I'll stick to it, I just wish I had caught this MUCH sooner!

mykidsmom:
No - this is not going to be easy.  It's going to require consistency and patience and how long it takes depends on the will of the child.  What's important (whether she understands you or not) is to verbally tell her every time what you're doing.  Firm and loving.  And give it time......but oh, it's hard!! I had a stubborn one that literally could take hours just to get to obey putting a pair of tights on.  So something like this is going to demand probably weeks and maybe a few months.  Hang in there!

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