All babies in the world have a common hobby: eating hands.
Ultrasound shows that babies begin to eat hands before birth. After birth, babies will gradually develop from unintentional hand eating to intentional hand eating, and even from hand eating to hand biting.
What are the disadvantages of baby eating hands?
Many parents will take pains to prevent their babies from eating their hands.
Indeed, there are some possible disadvantages for babies to eat and bite their hands:
Hygiene: If your hands are not clean, bacteria will enter your mouth.
Physiological problems: Some children who eat hands seriously may cause finger skin breakage, deformation, or affect tooth development.
Social problems: Older children continue to eat their hands, which may not be easily accepted by the society and is not conducive to the social development of children.
Babies have many [advantages] in eating their hands.
However, from the perspective of psychological development, there are still some benefits for babies to eat their hands:
1. Babies may be smarter
Babies’ brain development requires a lot of sensory stimulation information input, so babies who are often touched and have parents to talk with may be smarter. Eating hands is a sensory stimulation that babies can complete by themselves.
The younger the baby, the more it relies on the oral cavity for sensory stimulation, so it likes to chew everything first.
2. Exercise the sensory-motor system
The baby can take the initiative to put his fingers into his mouth accurately, which actually depends on the coordination and cooperation of the sensory system and the motor system. For the newborn baby, this is a happy progress.
Step 3: Realize self-appeasement
Children’s hands can be used as a substitute for [their own control] when they cannot be comforted by their mother’s nipples. Babies can find their own ways of satisfaction, which is also conducive to the development of children’s self-awareness.
4. Primitive emotional coping styles
Just as adults may also deal with anxiety by shaking their legs, picking their fingers and pinching things in their hands, children rely more on simple and repetitive physical tactile movements, and eating their hands in infancy naturally evolves into the main emotional coping mechanism.
Can’t babies indulge in eating hands?
If the baby only eats hands occasionally and does not cause physical injury or make him not accepted, parents do not need to stop it specially. You know, stopping itself will strengthen the behavior of “eating hands”.
However, no matter how old the child is, if eating hands brings obvious disadvantages to the growth of the baby, for example, because eating hands is not accepted by other children or kindergarten teachers, or the fingers are bitten and molted, etc., parents must find ways to make the baby make some changes.
Note that it is not simply because eating hands is [not good], but because eating hands brings some of the above-mentioned disadvantages to the baby, which will harm the baby and hinder the healthy development of body and mind, so it is necessary to replace it with less harmful methods.
As children grow older, they will gradually develop better emotional coping mechanisms and naturally eat less hands. However, parents may often see their children eating hands more easily before going to bed or when they are tired, because their children’s willpower is relatively low at this time and will return to a more elementary coping mechanism.
Because eating hands has the effect of self-soothing, children over two years old eat hands more habitually and use this familiar way to deal with emotional pressure.
Eating hands can be used as an indicator of the emotional state of children over 2 years old. When it is found that children’s eating hands suddenly becomes serious, parents need to consider whether what has increased their children’s emotional pressure.
How stopped the baby from eating hands?
Let the baby stop eating hands, the method actually varies from person to person, often parents and children to find a way together. Constantly try to sum up the method is the most effective.
Here, first provide a few examples for reference:
- With regard to health, You can avoid the risk of bacteria entering by helping your baby wash his hands. Instead of discussing a fixed time and place with your child to eat your hands at will, you can use a pacifier that does not hurt your hands or teeth. The rest of the time and occasions must refrain from discussing a code word to remind the child not to eat hands. Before going to bed, the child’s elbow joint should be covered with a comfortable and elastic elbow guard, which will take a little effort when the child bends his arms (eats hands). After falling asleep, the arms are relaxed and straightened, and the fingers bounce off automatically.
What needs to be solved more is the baby’s emotional problem.
In particular, it should be borne in mind that eating hands is a way to meet the needs of babies.
If we ignore the motivation of eating hands and do not help the baby to obtain other alternative ways to meet his needs, but simply stop eating hands itself, it is tantamount to taking away a person’s crutches, but does not help him restore his walking ability.
Especially the baby’s emotional pressure, this is the most need for intervention and help.
Some parents use strict measures to stop, even apply chili water and other methods, in fact, it is increasing the emotional pressure of children, making children more need to rely on eating hands to deal with. Even if children do not eat hands because of this, they will often develop more harmful coping styles.
Therefore, the strategy to prevent the baby from continuing to eat hands is to optimize its emotional coping mechanism step by step together with the child and replace the old method with more advanced methods acceptable to the child.
Children over the age of two already have basic language communication skills and self-control skills. Parents should respect their children more in the process of intervention, stimulate their initiative to face this problem, and discuss solutions with their children.
Responsible Editor: Ding Ruoshui