The combination of sticky juice and an impish toddler can sometimes lead to an unholy mess. A toddler's act of filling his mouth with juice and then spitting or dribbling it down his chin might have started as an experiment, but it can develop into a method of getting you unhinged. Institute firm and loving limits to keep your toddler’s juice in his mouth -- and other places inside his body.
1 Check your toddler’s face to see whether she’s spitting juice because she doesn’t like it or if she’s spitting juice to get a reaction. A toddler's face will usually register disgust for food he doesn't like. If she’s rejecting the juice because it’s tart or she’s doesn’t like the taste, take the cup and clean her up without correcting her.
2 Correct your toddler if he dribbled to get a rise out of you. Tell your toddler, “No spitting your juice. We don’t spit out our juice.”
3 Take your child's juice out of her hands and put it away. Wipe off your toddler’s face and clothes with a damp rag.
4 Ignore your toddler for a couple of minutes to send the message that you don’t approve of spitting. Don’t smile at him, don’t interact with him and don’t respond to him. This is negative reinforcement for an action that you don’t want him to do to discourage him from repeating the spitting behavior.
Items you will need
- Damp rag
- Jana Murphy, author of "The Secret Lives of Toddlers," advises that toddlers do their fair share of spitting. You have the power to approve or disapprove of spitting depending on the reason. As you’re trying to get a toddler to try a new food, be ready for her to send it back at you if she doesn’t like it. It’s a different ballgame if your toddler is just spitting for sport, though. Put an end to that spitting as quickly as possible.
- The Secret Lives of Toddlers: A Parent's Guide to the Wonderful, Terrible, Fascinating Behavior of Children Ages 1 to 3; Jana Murphy
- Philips Avent: Toddler Meal Time Tips
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images