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Messy hands!


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I have a couple of children at the moment who have a real issue with "messy" hands. They attempt to glue, paint, play tactile but as soon as they get anything on their hands get really panicky and have to wash/wipe it off. Then that ends that play in that area no matter how hard I try to distract and play. One child even cried because he was "messy" and it was the smallest dip of glue that I wiped immediately. I spoke to the parents and they said they don't encourage them to get messy but have not discouraged it either. I let them borrow an apron from the setting and some gluey sticking bits. Result was he refused to even try at home and mum said she wasn't keen on pushing it as they have new carpets!!

It is free flow in our setting, this child goes voluntarily to the messy areas before freaking out! I have put his favourite toys dinosaurs in with dry tactile and that is fine but if they go to the sand tray or paint area he wants to do it but is stopped. Can children get OCD as this crossing my mind or is that too drastic??

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i once read a report that suggested all children are born phobic...what happens to them as they grow teaches them to accept or reject what they come across. The little chap has obviously learnt from adults and may take some time to come around. My top tips would be to provide tools so that he doesn't need to get his hands in. Lots of experimenting and lots of adults showing him it is fun. Don't worry about aprons (it seems to cause more issues sometimes) have a supply of towels next to you (i prefer them than wet wipes as some residue is left) but you may need to start with wet wipes and try to encourage him to stick at it for a minute. Try doing activites outside/not in the same place and with lots of different experiences...gardening is sometimes an acceptable mess! We always call ours messy play never dirty and we ask parents to do the same.

An explanation of why it is important is good to give to parents.

In my opinion children can have ocd symptoms at this age but it is their experiences that have made them this way...most can get over it. I have only had one child who i continued to have issues with and he had other symptome which would suggest a disorder of some sort (needing to be VERY organised, needing to put things in exactly the same place etc etc)

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I've used vinyl gloves before, that seemed to work and let them paint/glue my hands, never asking if I could do theirs, just laughing because it tickled and drawing other children into the fun.

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someone was telling me the other week how they had a similar child -so they took the slowly slowly approach - first using baby lotion a little drop and getting the child to rub in hands and arms and then gradually using more each time -this gave the child a chance to acclimatise at their own pace and get used to feel on hands - after several weeks - the reward came when the child was happily delving in to all things messy .

maybe put wipes on table and allow child to touch , wipe touch wipe so they can learn themselves what is good for them

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