Toddlers have a ton of weird behavior that we as parents need to deal with, don’t they? I have found myself apologizing on behalf of my toddler son on more than one occasion.
If you are raising a toddler, you probably already understand!
Sometimes, I shrug… because I have no words to explain what we are watching. Like the time he was licking his leg in front of everyone in a store. It wasn’t just his leg. Over the next few months, it was everything.
Why is my toddler licking everything?
In this post, I am going to give you the info I learned at the time.
What you will learn in this post:
- Why toddlers lick everything.
- What you can do to stop your toddler from licking everything.
5 Reasons Why Toddler Is Licking Everything
Your toddler might be licking everything because they enjoy the sensory experience.
You know what it is like being a toddler (if you can remember that far back!) Everything is new. Somewhere, they got the strange idea that they can learn more about their environment by licking things!
Licking things may be giving your toddler some comfort.
This reminds toddlers of the time when they were comforted during breastfeeding.
The toddler years are very close to the baby years, and they probably still have memories of being breastfed and the comfort that it brings.
To Get A Reaction
This is the time when kids push your buttons. They want to see how you react to their behavior. It is a vital part of their learning to be fully functioning human beings (although licking stuff is slightly outside of that, right?).
Your toddler might be licking stuff because they want to get a reaction from you.
Do you have a cat or a dog? Your toddler could be mimicking their behavior, thinking that it is something that humans also do.
A good friend of mine had a dog, and her toddler used to spend a lot of time walking on all fours mimicking whatever the dog was doing. He even went as far as barking at anyone getting close to his home!
Toddlers mimic other living things. Just be thankful they haven’t peed up a street light!
Just Something They Do
You have a toddler. They lick stuff. You may not like this because it is a classic ‘catch-all’ statement, but it might just be a phase they are going through!
Going back to the dog-child above, this phase lasted 2 months before he simply stopped doing it. Once he stopped, he hasn’t done it since.
This is a clear sign that it was a phase and nothing more. This is the most likely reason why your toddler is licking everything. You need to distract, ignore, or remind them every time they do it. Eventually, they will stop.
5 Ways You Can Stop Your Toddler Licking Everything
Analyze Things In A Different Way
If your toddler is licking because they are exploring their environment, you could spend some time exploring other ways to do this.
Consider asking your toddler to explain what they see. Pick up an object and ask them to explain what they can feel. Get your toddler to sniff objects (this is what I used to do as a toddler!)
These are different ways that you can get your toddler to explore their environment.
This is a classic technique that you should already be highly skilled in doing!
Distraction… when you see your toddler licking something, distract them. This can help to stop them from doing it while they move through this phase.
Distraction works for toddler behavior of any kind, so it is worth up-skilling very fast if you don’t have the skill!
If your toddler receives comfort from licking everything, you should consider purchasing some chew toys instead.
Every time you notice your toddler licking something, simply hand over the chew-able toy and get them to lick that instead.
This works if they just straight up like licking things! It can also work if your toddler is licking everything for comfort.
Ignoring behavior can be a challenge. It has pushed my chilled-out nature on more than one occasion!
As this is most likely to be a phase your toddler is going through (there is that phrase again!), ignoring the problem until it goes away seems to be a good idea.
Obviously, if your toddler is going to lick something that is dangerous, then you do not ignore it. Use your common sense here.
Constant reminders worked for me when my toddler was exhibiting strange behavior, like screaming, for instance.
When you notice your toddler licking something, give a little reminder for them to stop it.
Sometimes, your toddler will get caught in the moment. They will be licking something even though they are not aware they are doing it!
If you find your toddler licking everything, you could consider taking them out of that situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it normal for toddler to lick things?
Yes, it is absolutely normal. In most cases, this is a phase they are going through. It is up to you to simply ride it out until they find something just as annoying to put your through! Don’t worry, give them time and they will have an equally annoying habit for you to be concerned about!
Why does my toddler keep touching his tongue?
Toddlers touch their tongue because they have an interest in it. Let’s face it, a tongue is wet and feels pretty funny. To a toddler who is learning about their body, it is interesting. It may also be a sign that they have a bit of pain in their tongue. You should check your toddler’s mouth and tongue for anything obvious.
How do I stop my child from licking his lips?
Licking lips is a natural reaction when your lips are dry. I do it, you probably do it too. This usually happens during the colder months of the year. You should seek out some lip balm that can be used on a toddler. Apply it regularly to stop the dryness. Be wary of flavored lip balm, because it might result in your toddler licking their lips even more!
If you ask yourself why my toddler is licking everything, then the 5 reasons on this page will guide you.
I have also added 5 things that you can do to help stop your toddler from licking everything.
This post is not intended to give medical advice. It is worth noting that a toddler licking everything can be a sign of autism. If you think this might be the case, you should speak with a medical professional specializing in this field. It is important to get the right level of help for you both from the correct source.
Ultimately, it is like a phase that your toddler is going through and is nothing to worry about. That being said, it is frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. I said it above, and I’ll repeat it, your toddler will develop a new and annoying habit that will replace this one!
In the future, you might be wishing that your toddler licking things was the only annoying habit they have!