I need some suggestions on what a logical consequence might be for a child who touches everything. It would also help if I could apply those rules to the things I don't want her doing (like right now she's trying to sit in her doll stroller - which is already broken on one side from her sitting in it so much, regardless of how many times I've explained to her that it's for her doll and will break if she sits in it).
My three year old is driving me to a padded room. She's always been a "toucher", and I don't try to discourage her curiosity, but I think she's trying to have me committed. I pretty much spend my days (some more often than others) following her around and watching her around corners to make sure she stays out of trouble. She's figured out how to open the child locks, so those don't work (I CAN NOT keep her out of the fridge), and her newest thing is (there are two things) pulling the garland (it's handmade so it's special) off the tree to use it as a skipping rope. When she does this, she's NOT gentle about it (she pulls at one end quite hard, causing it to pull and bunch around the tree, so it's quite difficult to put back on). I've debated just allowing the tree to fall on her, but she seems to have found the sweet spot where she pulls JUST enough that the tree moves, but doesn't fall down. The other thing she does is walk sideways (along the wall) pushing into the blinds. That's just dangerous, as the awning could quite easily fall on her head (there is nothing hard on it to hurt her, but I bet it would freak the youknowwhat out of her).
I've caught her trying to boil water in our kettle (which I didn't even think she could reach - we now keep it unplugged), and whenever there's something on the tables or counters, she will try to take it down to see what it is (so we can never leave hot items within reach - an almost impossible task). When I have a cup of tea or coffee, I have to carry it around with me wherever I go because she will literally climb the shelves to reach it so she can have "a sip". Moving furniture around is also something she does on a regular basis (to reach higher ground).
She's a really easy child (aside from all the touching of things), and is generally really easy going (can sometimes be sensitive and emotional, but never has tantrums), but I'm having a hard time finding logical consequences to these actions. She touches EVERYTHING. There are days where she'll literally walk around the house with her thumb in her mouth just looking for something to... well... disrupt.
I also have an 18 month old who I'm afraid is going to copy some of the things she does (which ARE dangerous to him). He also makes it difficult at times to deal with her and watch him at the same time.
As much as possible I'd let things fall on her or break or whatnot as a result of her actions where it is reasonable/safe to do so. So if the blind topper falls on her & is unlikely to hurt her let it happen - she'll hopefully "get" what the consequence can be. If her pulling something off the table results in a mess than she has to clean it up.
Then at least you wouldn't have to watch everything she touches - just those that could truly hurt her (ie. the hot kettle).
As for sentimental items - I'd pack them away until she's older. Put popcorn garland on the tree & pack up the nice one. Next year she'll hopefully be more controlled.
Ds has had to learn the hard way that when glasses/cups/bowls are played with they can crash to the floor & break. We get him out of the way of the glass, clean up the mess & hug him until he is done crying (it always upsets him so) but now he is a lot more careful.
Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).
A constant need to touch can be the sign of sensory issues. Some children have difficulty processing sensory input - either they receive too much and become tactile defensive (tags and seams in shirts and socks are like knives on their skin) or they don't get enough (touch everything and everyone, run into walls, fall onto the floor, spin, roll, chew on things and people).
Having sensory issues isn't a terrible thing - personally I believe we all have sensory issues (how many chewed up pens do you see in your office?).
Making sure your child is receiving enough sensory input can be helpful if this is the reason (and not just curiousity). Giving your child tactile objects to stroke and hold (pieces of soft material, bumpy balls, etc.), giving the child heavy work to do (lifting a heavy bag and moving it from place to place or pushing chairs under a table). Some fun sensory games - spray shaving cream onto a table and let her finger paint (or just finger painting). By anticipating her sensory needs, she may be less likely to touch things she shouldn't. If things are out of control and you can't get a handle on it, you should get an evaluation performed by an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory processing disorder.
find something else she can play with as a jumping rope. and definitely find things she can touch that are especially interesting--like koosh balls, chinese yo-yos, there are lots of desktop fiddle things that can be good. I really like the one that is like a tube filled with water and glitter and a few things and the tube turns inside out on itself. you can put your finger in either side. or hold it lightly on the outside and the inside falls out so that it drops out of your hand. very hard to describe. very fun to play with.
maybe make her some hot tea to taste safely so she'll stop trying to get your coffee (or at least try less :-)
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