Monday, April 7

Yummmm . . . Cheese Ravioli with a Hint of Garlic

Let's make one thing very clear: I am asking for advice. I normally run screaming from the very thought of asking the Internet for advice for anything even remotely related to parenting because that is akin to asking a mother-in-law for advice, except that it's asking dozens of mothers-in-law for advice all at once. I'm liable to end up with all kinds of stupidness flying around in comments, but I asked for it. Give it to me.

So. The Toddler. She has a sort of a cold thing going on right now. Her nose is trying to make a run for Mexico (again) and she has this little cough thing going.

You, on the couch--shut up, she is not sick because she was sharing her food with the dog the other day. That is PURE COINCIDENCE.

Anyway, the Toddler has not yet mastered the art of covering her mouth when she coughs. Oh, sure, she understands the concept. Right after she spews the entire contents of her lungs all over my face, she slaps her tiny fingers over her mouth and grins like an idiot, her eyes clearly saying, "Look, Mommy, aren't you proud I remembered to cover my mouth?"

If the hand slapping had occurred before I realized just how stankerific her morning breath can be, then I would be proud. But no, the hand slap is after the cough. Always. After the cough.

The problem would be that the kid doesn't cough frequently enough for us to practice this whole hand-over-the-mouth skill until we (and by "we" I mean SHE) fully understand it. I could hand her a pack of Marlboro lights and get her coughing like a pro once she was hooked on a pack a day, but that somehow seems wrong.

So how the heck do you teach a kid to cover their mouth BEFORE they repeatedly force you to smell last night's dinner?

Note: This particular kid is NOT bribeable. Trust me, I've been there.

41 comments:

  1. Hmm - I have no idea. Mine isn't doing such advanced toddler things yet...but maybe make it into a game where she mimics you. So, you spend a lot of time coughing with your hand over your mouth...with or without the Marlboros, of course!

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  2. Fake having to cough, sneeze, etc in front of her and draw attention to it ("I have to cough") to make sure she sees you do it while covering your mouth. I did (do) this with mine all the time, with coughing, please/thank you, grammer usage, etc. They learn most from watching.

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  3. Oh geez! Now if you ask me to figure out rocket science or brain surgery, I might have a fighting chance at giving an answer. But how to get a toddler to do anything....forget it! I haven't figured that one out and have just decided it ain't happening. Sorry- no good advice here. I pretty much just complain and blog about it- somehow that doesn't seem to solve the problem either!

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  4. You are a brave woman, asking for advice. I have little to give. Weirdly, the more into the parenting years I get the less advice I have to share. Other than making a game of it and laughingly saying "oh, no, you didn't cover the cough" but then that may just encourage her to continue bad behavior. See? I'm no help at all.

    And that picture? Priceless. Leading 3 young charges like that deserves an award.

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  5. I'll be interested to see what people have to say. I still have to remind Hope at 5 years old to cover her mouth.

    Did I just make you cry? :)

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  6. Since you asked... first, teach her to cough into her ELBOW since she'll just have to relearn that that's the PC thing to do right now and she won't be allowed into IKEA if she doesn't follow their posted rules about coughing (don't think I'm kidding). And, truly, I think it's a little more fun for them to cough into a "funnier" part of their body anyway. I just kept yelling "COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW! ELBOW! ELBOW!" and after awhile, it worked! It's all about repetition. Yes, they can remember BY THEMSELVES once they get your voice yelling "ELBOW!!" permanently stuck in their heads! :)

    In the meantime, get her some Dora breath mints. ;)

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  7. You hold your breath and wait until she turns about 5 or 6. Then she'll purposefully burp in your face for fun.

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  8. Here's some advice...Get Real! The preschoolers I taught couldn't remember to cover their mouths.
    That picture is so cute!

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  9. I have no advice, just thoughts. My main thought is she is simply too young to get it this time. My other thought is that I liked what Karen said about saying "Cover your cough." I think that might help more than "cover your mouth."

    Maybe what you really need to do is train yourself to not breathe in when she coughs.

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  10. Oh, and I LOVE that pic!

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  11. Hmm . . . if she fails to cover her hand before the cough begins, cough in her face until she gets the idea?

    I'm SO coming for your bulldog. I want one!

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  12. Wow..the pictures keep getting cuter each time I visit your site! Ethan has a cold right now too...Even though he doesn't like it, I can overpower him when it comes to wiping up the nose snot, but the coughing...I never know when it's coming and am always covered in the spray. I like the idea in one of the comments about pretend coughing...let me know if that one works...I think Ethan might be too young still. Best of luck!

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  13. How about a cute little hankie for her to cough in? My kids love to use tissues and hankies. And they won't spread the love the way moist little hands will.

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  14. Mine still doesn't know that's what you are supposed to do. Love the picture of her walking Jasmine.

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  15. preschool teacher here...I'm the cough into your elbow police. I just teach them to catch their cough. They seem to like the idea of catching it although there are some that never, ever remember.

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  16. Oh man. It is a constant work in progress around here. I am constantly reminding the boys to cover their mouths. They do for the most part, but they still forget, and they are much older than you little lady. It just takes time. Lots and lots of time.
    Good luck!

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  17. We only now got Gavin to consistently cover his mouth for sneezes and coughs...and he's nearly 4. And we accomplished that by me nagging and shrieking and brow-beating him. My cousin has taught her kids to "catch your sneeze!" or "catch your cough!" with a nice teacher sing-songy voice. The oldest (3) usually remembers with some slight prodding. The 2-year old (he's a month older than Alexis), not so much...so we get to hear "catch your sneeze/cough!" about a bazillion times a day during cold/flu season.

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  18. You get really sick for a week and then end up with a cough that just - won't - go- away! You cough repeatedly covering your mouth and your little one will start imitating you. Of course, when they really have to cough, they will probably forget.

    Ok, this is probably not the advise you are looking for, but it's what has been going on in my house for the last month,

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  19. We're currently struggling with this. I too try the fake coughing, sneezing thing and cover my face with a tissue and chuckle after. Sometimes she'll mimic me, other times she won't.....like when she's actually coughing :(

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  20. I like gina's advice. Eventually Alexis will get it. My daughter is 4 and finally has it down but still forgets this technique with a sneeze now and then.

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  21. Look at all these nice people giving you real advice.

    I think your question is unimportant and we should instead focus on that bulldog! Look at her go!!

    What...what did you ask?

    Hallie :)

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  22. You get a mask. You wear said mask. Until she's 4 or 5-ish and will then be able to get the whole "cover your mouth" thing.

    LOVE the picture--

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  23. You do want to go the elbow route...that is what they learn at school (and, I must admit, it is awfully funny to watch)!

    The problem with 'fake' coughing for practice is that she KNOWS it's coming so she doesn't necessarily get the unexpected cough cover.

    Good luck - The Girl is 9 and is still not good at covering coughs OR sneezes (BLECH!).

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  24. I got nothing for you on this one other than maybe just repetition when she does cough and constant reminder. She will catch on sooner or later :)

    I love that picture!

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  25. Rejoice in the fact that she is even considering covering her mouth even if delayed...

    That's all I got. Cute pic!

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  26. I'm not sure it's teachable, at least not on any reliable level. Bubba is 5 1/2 and we STILL have to remind him sometimes. Sometimes he remembers. Sometimes he doesn't. I'm hoping it kicks in before he leaves for college.

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  27. If you figure it out...let me in on the secret. I have two aiming at me!

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  28. Every time she coughs, just simply say, "Cover your mouth.", and cover your own mouth. Really, after the 1,000th time it will all of a sudden click with her and you'll be AMAZED! "Wow! My persistence payed off!" Oh, and resist the urge to laugh when she coughs her dinner on you:)

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  29. My advice? Just be aware that the garlic triscuits have just as much after-smell as they do taste...so pleas heed my warning and don't give the nice whole grain snack like I did until gum is an option.

    As far as coughing? I have no idea. I like what other people are saying though. I might try some myself.

    Good job asking for help!

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  30. well my 12 year old is just now getting the hang of it. so it will happen. eventually!!

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  31. Ewww....I hate when they cough/sneeze and you can see the spray in the air!
    We are always reinforcing, "Cover your Mouth!" but it doesn't seem to have sunk in yet.
    So, you got me. What I do...I usually just run away while throwing tissues in their direction...because for some reason, I get their cold much, much worse!

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  32. I know I am repeating what a couple other mom's said...but my son's school (He'll be 4 in July and goes 2 days a week) does "Sneeze in your sleeve" Sounds catchy. It doesn't always work. They still forget. Just keep up with the washing of the hands and you should be good.

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  33. She is still young! Teach her to sneeze into her elbow! Use the hand sanitizer and wash them babies frequently! :-)

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  34. LMAO! I can't help there, I can't remember how I taught Bradey in the end.

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  35. The book "Thank You, Logan!" may help. it's about this subject. Monkey remembers to catch her sneeze or cough... about 1/2 the time.

    good luck & cute pics.
    red pen mama

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  36. dora breath mints...

    hmmm. now I'M getting some interesting ideas for the swap.

    :-P

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  37. No idea. I cough into my arm. But toddlers? I can't make my 14, 13 and 10 years olds cover their mouths when they cough.

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  38. The cure for this problem is growing up. Give her some 16 odd years. My grade school kids usually do it though, into the bent arm style, maybe the threaten them at school??? In any case, sometimes with my girl when she was little making up a story that pricked her imagination helped- tell her there's a little Martian or something in the crease of her arm and if she coughs on it, she will help it survive on Earth or any old crazy story like that. It will help her remember, even if she does start looking at you askance.

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  39. If eating after the dog hurt them, there'd be no kiddies left in the world.

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  40. Gracie's preschool teacher taught her to cough in her elbow crook (do you know what I mean? I can't think of another way to say it...) instead of her hand. That way she could still shake hands and play with toys without spreading the germs. Gracie was very receptive and chastized me more than once for using my hands to catch my coughs.

    And I had nothing to do with it.

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  41. No advice. Nothing to add to what's already been said. Just a loud, goofy:

    LOOKY! A WHOLE PICTURE OF JASMINE! Preeety puuuppy!

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