Why Does My Toddler Lick Everything?

It is common for toddlers to exhibit a curious behavior where they lick objects and surfaces around them. This behavior can be both puzzling and concerning for parents. Understanding why toddlers engage in this behavior can help alleviate any worries and provide reassurance.

Sensory Exploration

Toddlers use their senses to explore the world around them, and licking objects is a part of that exploration. It is one way for them to gather information about different textures, tastes, and smells. By licking objects, toddlers can satisfy their curiosity and gain a better understanding of their environment.

Teething Relief

Another possible reason for a toddler’s excessive licking may be teething. When toddlers are teething, they experience discomfort and tend to seek relief by putting things in their mouths, including their fingers, toys, and other objects. Licking objects may provide temporary relief and help soothe their gums.

Oral Stimulation

Some toddlers engage in licking as a form of oral stimulation. This behavior can be related to their natural need for sensory experiences, similar to chewing, sucking, or biting. Licking objects may provide a satisfying sensory input and help toddlers self-regulate their emotions.


Like any other behavior, licking objects can also be a way for toddlers to seek attention. Toddlers often enjoy observing their parents’ reactions, and if they notice that licking objects gets a response, whether positive or negative, they may repeat the behavior to gain attention.

Developmental Stage

Exploratory behaviors like licking are part of a toddler’s normal development. At this stage, their brain is rapidly developing, and they are learning about cause and effect. Licking objects can be a way for them to test boundaries and understand how their actions influence their surroundings.

In conclusion, the behavior of toddlers licking everything they come across is generally a normal part of their development. It can be attributed to sensory exploration, teething relief, oral stimulation, attention-seeking, and their overall developmental stage. While it may seem strange, it is important for parents to remember that this behavior is usually temporary and will diminish as their child grows older. It is crucial to ensure a safe environment for their exploration and provide appropriate alternatives to fulfill their sensory needs.