How can I encourage my son to stop putting everything in his mouth?

Children explore the world using all of their senses (including taste!), so your son’s behavior is normal and is something that he will outgrow over time (although some children take longer than others). As a parent, it can be challenging because you constantly have to be on the lookout for potential chocking hazards! When your son goes to put something in his mouth, quickly take it out of his hands (you will need to distract him) and replace it with a safe alternative (like a soother or teether). It may take some time, but with a little patience and redirection he will begin to differentiate between objects that are okay to put in his mouth and those that are not. In the meantime, be sure to keep small objects out of his reach.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.