Is it just me — or does your kid ALSO try and feed you?! According to the experts, this is actually part of your tot’s development.
“This is a normal process of development,” Kate Arquilla, M.S., R.N., C.B.C., who has years of experience in baby and child development, recently shared with Romper.
“The act of eating is a very social event,” she explains — as it is around this age that toddlers realize mealtime brings their families together.
And while it is awesome to praise them for this next step — you also don’t need to allow them to stick their (probably messy) hands into your mouth.
“Playing along with your toddler is perfectly fine, as long as your child is not forcibly feeding you, or as long as the behavior does not become bothersome to you,” pediatrician Whitney Casares, M.D., M.P.H., also chimes in.
“That fifth bite of carrots your child wants to give you might just not be appetizing anymore.” And practicing “no thank you,” will also help with your child’s social development.
Another reason they might be into feeding you? Exploring!
“As toddlers grow and explore their world, they often offer their own food to others near them. Sharing food and offering food to others builds trust in the world around them and allows them to explore new foods in a way they feel safe.”
But chances are, your kiddos are just mimicking you!
“They may be mimicking [the same] feeding a parent has done with them,” says Dr. Casares — adding how this behavior can go on beyond the toddler stage.
In addition, your tot feeding you may also signal they are starting to use their imagination and pretend play.
Dr. Casares explains that a sign of this may be them also pretending to feed their dolls or stuffed animals.
And of course, it is more than okay to take a break from this type of play — as your tot will continue to develop normally.
“If you aren’t interested in being fed, or are done with this type of imaginary play, you can say ‘I’m full and don’t need any more’ or ‘Mommy’s all done’ in a kind tone,” says Dr. Casares.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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