Q+A: Why Does My Son Love to Drop Things from His High Chair?

Q. My 19-month-old loves to play "pick up the sippy cup." He drops it from his high chair, I retrieve it, and he drops it again. And again, and again. What gives with this annoying game?

A. Not only is dropping his cup fun to your toddler, it's actually a sign that he's developmentally right on target, says pediatric psychologist Lynne Kenney, PsyD, in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are several possible explanations: He's learning the concept of cause and effect and wondering what Mommy will do when his cup hits the floor; he's just trying to tell you he's done with it; or he's simply eager to interact with you. Whatever the reason, there's no denying that the drop-the-cup act gets old fast. "I recommend taking part in the 'volley' twice," says Dr. Kenney. "That means picking it up and putting it back on the high chair -- while telling him not to throw his cup -- two times. The third time it happens, take it away." Don't make a big deal of it, though. If you get worked up, he'll see he can get a reaction out of you and may want to continue.

Originally published in the February 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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