Biting, scratching, pulling, hitting, screaming?
One of the things that I loved about being a parent, is that I now get to practice what I have been preaching for the last 10 years. So, I noticed that my baby started pulling my hair. As you can see in the video below, I have started to set my child up with things that she is allowed to pull. As I always say, children do a lot better in a CAN environment rather than a CAN’T environment.
No baby or toddler is pulling, biting, or scratching out of malice. They are not thinking, “I want to pull Mommy’s hair to hurt her and get her back for what she did.” It doesn’t work that way. The child does not have the capacity at that age to have that complex thought. It is about sensorial experiences. “I want to pull Mommy’s hair because it feels good!”
So, the trick is to set up YES Zones all throughout your house. What is your child allowed to pull, bite, or scratch in the house? They are allowed to pull the strings or the knobs. Apples and carrots are for biting. Do a little tug-of-war activity and whilst doing so explain to your child that this pulling is acceptable.
We want to move away from constantly telling children what they are NOT allowed to do and move towards setting them up with activities that they are allowed to do. Starting young is a win. By the time they are older, and you can converse with them and explain it to them, they will already understand that hair is not for pulling, but strings are for pulling.
You can do this with any kind of undesired sensorial event that is happening.