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Old 11-02-2006, 06:02 PM
SpecialPreskoo's Avatar
SpecialPreskoo SpecialPreskoo is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,285
Way down south in Dixie!
Was PreK SPE, now HS SPE.
Fingers in mouth... breaking the habit!?

How do you get a child to STOP PUTTING THEIR FINGERS IN THEIR MOUTH!!??!!??

It is just a bad habit a couple in my room have. If we are doing little group activities that require them to hold something... like these little count down poem pieces we do... I won't let them get one if they've had their fingers in their mouths... no one wants a wet anything from someone else! The fact they don't get one of the pieces if their fingers are wet doesn't phase them.

Got any tips????

These are preschool SPE students but they do know how to keep their hands in their laps when asked. They have done it before. They just forget and the next thing you know their fingers are back in their mouth... this habit ranks right along with nail biting I guess. SOme people do it without thinking... just a habit. But when these kiddos come to school sick and all, the less germs we can spread, THE BETTER!!


Old 11-02-2006, 09:08 PM
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Steph-ernie Steph-ernie is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,299
2nd Grade Teacher
This may be completely unrealistic, but would it be possible to have them wear gloves? I would think after wearing gloves for awhile they would be out of the habit. Would that interfere with their fine motor skills though?
Old 11-02-2006, 09:40 PM
laurieann laurieann is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1
I have had similar problems in past preschool classrooms. I don't know if this is an option in your classroom,but what has worked for me ,to break children of the habit of putting their fingers in their mouths and noses is to send them to wash them, EVERY time they do it. They realize it is a lot more fun to stay and participate in activities, then it is to be washing your hands ALL the time.
Old 11-17-2006, 08:56 PM
klandrum klandrum is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1
My para puts some bad-tasting perfumy hand lotion on the kids that put their fingers in their mouths. This really works!
Old 11-17-2006, 09:24 PM
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srh srh is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,205
Kindergarten Teacher
I'm curious too--several of my Kinders do this, often as a response to being nervous or unsure of giving an answer.

But I wouldn't put any kind of perfumed lotion--or any lotion for that matter--on their hands. Too many allergies, etc., plus many lotion bottles say NOT to get them near your mouth! The bad-tasting stuff may be more than bad-tasting!!
Old 11-18-2006, 10:52 AM
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Mrs_Barrett Mrs_Barrett is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 565
Inculsion PK special education
Your children are probably stuck in the oral stage. Give them candy or something to chew on. I had a preschooler last year who had a chew toy. I teach preschool sped.
Old 11-18-2006, 10:41 PM
luvspecialkids! luvspecialkids! is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3
First, I believe this is a sensory behavior. I would not put anything on their hands, that is kinda of like punishing...I would talk to the OT at your school and see what items she has for chewing on. (My son used a long plastic type tube and a vibrating item) I would let them have it for the 1st week or two as much as they like. Then I would put them on a schedule. It may be a sensory habit and/or reaction to stress. It is very important to address it ASAP. The parents will also need the item to use at home for it to be successful. Good luck!1

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