Why Does My Infant Throw Things From the Crib?

By Brittney Horwitz
Babies love to exercise power by throwing items out of their crib or highchair.
Babies love to exercise power by throwing items out of their crib or highchair.

Babies are always surprising their parents with a new activity or skill that they couldn't do the day before. Starting from when they are infants, a term usually reserved for very young babies, until about 2 years old, babies develop at a rapid pace. If your baby is throwing things from his crib, it might seem like a sign of rebellion or a nuisance, but he is actually just expressing his newfound ability to throw. When you are bending over to pick up that teddy bear for the 15th time in a row, it might ease your mind to know just why your baby loves this new game.

New Skill

The main reason why your baby delights in throwing her favorite dolls and books out of her crib and onto the floor is because it is a new skill. Starting at about 7 months old, babies' fine motor skills develop and they are able to grasp small objects in their hands and pick them up. What comes up must go down, so babies quickly learn that they can also let go, causing items to fall. At about 1 year to 18 months old, babies are able to purposely throw items and will love to experiment with this new motion of sending things flying in the air.

Cause and Effect

After a baby realizes that he can pick something up and let it go, he will wonder what happened to it. At about 7 or 8 months old, babies begin to develop "object permanence," or the concept that something out of sight still exists. This means that he will drop or throw things purposely to see what happens after he lets go, such as following the motion of his teddy bear as he flies out of the crib so that he can watch him land on the floor.

Power

As a baby grows, she will gain more and more independence. First she will be able to creep and crawl, so that she can get around on her own and reach toys that she wants, and soon after, she will begin to walk. The more independence baby tastes, the more she wants, which will occasionally lead her to resent how much power you exert over her. When your baby throws something from her crib and you bend down to get it for her, she will see that sometimes, she can exert power over you. This is thrilling to a baby and she will repeat the act as many times as you are willing to get her toy just to have the thrill of power.

Reactions

Just as babies love to exercise control over their parents by making you pick up their toys, they also love to see that they can cause a reaction. If you make a big deal out of his action, he is bound to repeat it. If you shout in a surprised or joking manner when he throws her toy, he will find this very funny and will want to make you shout again.

About the Author

Brittney Horwitz started writing professionally in 2009 when she became the editor of "Mother's Helper," a bimonthly magazine geared toward busy mothers in the New York metro area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and Judaic studies from Stern College.