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Breaking repetitive behaviour/habits

(4 Posts)
katiegolightly Thu 04-Oct-12 17:34:03

I guess this applies to anything you want your baby to stop doing but in our case, 5 1/2 mo DD has suddenly found her hearing aids. Or her left one to be precise.

It started a week or two ago and now every day she reaches her ear and pulls it our with one swift movement. She has done this probably hundreds of times today.

If I see her reaching I just brush her hand away and distract her. If it's out, I say 'No, ears stay in' and put it back.

We always knew she'd get to this stage but I'm hugely frustrated because:

1) I now expect her first word will now be 'no!'
2) I don't want her to feel like she's constantly being told off
3) I know this will go on every day for years until she realises not to do it!
4) She'll probably break them with drool or choke on them at some point

We've tried everything to attach/stick them - basically she will get them off if she wants to, so no point going down that route any further.

I don't know whether to just not say anything each time she does it or whether it's important to enforce every time that she shouldn't do it (even though I don't expect she will stop doing it for some time). They are physically not uncomfortable and she's quite happy when distracted but constant distraction is impossible.

Oh and as I post, right one has just come out and in the mouth too... arggg!

How to tackle repeated unwanted behaviour like this?

adoptmama Thu 04-Oct-12 19:27:07

I'm sorry I have no advise. I wonder if you might get help more specific to the hearing aid issue over on special needs, where you might come across parents who have btdt.

DeWe Thu 04-Oct-12 19:44:58

I'd do exactly the same. Giving her something to hold in both hands may help too. I would keep reinforcing it.
A similar-ish thing was when I dressed dd1 and ds* if they were holding something I would take it out of the hand, and pass it to the other hand saying "swap hands". This was the first command they obeyed, and they were doing it by a year consistantly.

*dd2 has only one hand so I'd say put it down instead of swap hands, but she generally preferred to put it in her mouth.

I wouldn't worry too much on 1 or 2.
3. She will get to the point she realises that they help her and she will find it harder without them.
4. I'd guess she's not the first baby to do this, and they must be a certain extend child proof. No I wouldn't leave her playing with them, but they shouldn't be broken by her doing that.

katiegolightly Thu 04-Oct-12 21:21:40

Thanks both. Have quizzed many parents of HI kids recently and nobody has any bright ideas. A mum I met recently was still doing this hundreds of times daily with her 2 year old.

I just wondered if there was a more abstract approach from a behavioural management perspective.

Good idea with the swap hands, DeWe - I guess I was thinking of something verbal / non verbal - I'm not sure. It's how I handle it when we are in the car, she's across the room from me, we don't have anything in hand for her to be distracted by etc.

Generally, I wonder whether drawing attention to it is a good or a bad thing!

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