So… most parents worry about this a lot. Children at 12 months mostly put everything in their mouth. Toys, papers, soft toys etc. There is a reason for this. In my point there is nothing to worry. Remember this is their foundation period. They develop different skills. Children from birth absorb everything through their senses. There are five senses in every human. Visual, Tactile (Sense of Touch), Gustatory (Sense of Taste), Auditory Sense (Sense of Hearing), Olfactory Sense (Sense of Smell).
Let's talk about theses Senses first
The baby starts absorbing everything unconsciously from the Mother’s Womb as I mentioned in Spongy Mind and Sensitive Period article. How they absorb you may wonder. They absorb and gather information through their God given Senses. Yes, this child cannot see the outer world BUT he can hear everything you say. He uses his Auditory Sense to listen to what is happening around him. That is the reason when a child is born, he recognizes his mother’s voice. His Auditory Sense (the main antenna) to gather information from the mother’s womb. Adults need to be very careful of using proper words because there is a 24-hour antenna has been used around you.
When the child is born the first thing, they see is the Mother and the Father. Though he has heard them that is the first time he sees them. It is easy for the baby because he recognizes the voices. The baby meets colors and all the other things around them. He absorbs through his Visual Senses.
As the child is growing along with the Auditory and the Visual Sense, he develops the Tactile Sense. We also call it the Sense of Touch. Here he touches everything and can grasp the different surfaces. Through Tactile Sense he will also be able to feel the weather when its changing. He will be able to identify the hot and cold surfaces too.
Olfactory Sense is the Sense of Smell. At the foundation Period the child will be able to recognize the smells of different vegetables food and so on.
Gustatory Sense is the Sense of Taste. It is the reason for the child to cause to taste everything. At the age of 12 months or before the child develops the taste buds. From that moment the child himself tastes everything that is in reach for them. The child will recognize the taste comparing with the smell.
Apart from the five senses we already know the child has another sense that he uses when the eyes are closed. We call it the Stereognostic Sense. This Is also important in a human life.
So, these senses are important in a child’s life for his growth. Through these senses he absorbs everything and stores up the information for the rest of his life. When the child enters to a Montessori Prepared Environment these magical senses are been used, molded, developed through Scientific Materials.
So now you know about these Magical Senses the child has. When a child grabs and push things to their mouth that is not a sickness or a weak-point the child has. It is simply because the child is curious about the taste. They WANT to taste each and everything. I have observed that when they see bright colors, they are just drawn in to it. They cannot resist tasting it. Parents must be always watchful. We cannot stop or skip the child’s development period. Make sure the floor is always clean, the toys are clean because you have a growing toddler.
I’ll give you my experience with my niece. She is just 19 months old. She putts everything in the mouth. Whenever I see her putting things in the mouth, I guide her saying those don’t go into the mouth. I keep saying it. The next time she takes something, and it goes close to the mouth, but she remembers and stops and looks at me and nods her head like she says, ‘ it doesn’t go to the mouth’.
Remember it is their Sensitive Period and they always want to experience everything. Montessori Method is all about helping Children help themselves.