Anagh started mouthing books when he was 6 months old, and now it has increased tenfold due to teething. In addition to this, he recently discovered the art of tearing the flaps. So if you have a baby or toddler who is ridiculously good at ripping apart books or mouthing them, these tips might help!!!
1) Babies explore books by looking, touching (opening/closing), tearing and mouthing them. Trust me this is normal book behavior. Sometimes, not every time, I let Anagh do that as the point is to help them learn to love books and strengthen bonds with books.
2) If your child can’t resist tearing books, invest in sturdy board books or indestructible books (these are non-toxic and safe to chew books). These books can handle some love but know that board books can be destroyed too but maybe not quite so easily.
3) Toddlers are explorers, once they figure out how to tear a book, they have an extremely strong desire to tear things. So, what you can do, is let them do so in a safer way like cutting a stack of papers or magazines with obviously, child safe scissors. It’s way better than having them destroy their books.
4) Modeling good treatment of books and the power of setting an example like carefully turning the pages, putting them back to their place when you’re done. Babies are copycats – Monkey see, Monkey do!!
5) One of my favourite tricks is cuddling while I read to Anagh, or hold his dominant hand. I then use it to point to things on the pages. It not only helps him to feel safe, warm and connected to me but also stops them from tearing flaps or books at lightning speed.
6) When Anagh seems interested in only mouthing the book, I hand him any other book or his teether or a little toy. Babies love having something to touch or feel or hold. If they have something in their hands, they are much less likely to feel the need to grab the book that you are reading to tear.
7) You can also lie on the floor or bed next to them and hold the book up over both of your heads. It’s a win-win situation as it makes them easier to see and they can’t reach the book. Yes, I know your arms will get tired after a few books, but hey, consider it as an arm workout!
8) It might happen that if you stop your toddler/baby from mouthing or tearing the book, they will get diverted to teethers, other toys or books (this is a really good list!), and it’s okay. I like to read aloud to Anagh while he crawls as listening to books. It’s a great skill to help them develop.
Last but not the least, If Anagh loses interest in a book, I try to be okay about just quitting part way through and trying again with a new book either right then or later. It’s more important that we enjoy reading and it has to be pleasant, light and enjoyable for both of us. It should not feel like a chore that has to be checked off the to do list.
We came across this wonderful book in the kbc facebook group called BUT PLEASE DON’T PUT THAT BOOK IN YOUR MOUTH! It’s for older toddlers, but definitely a must have :).
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