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Babying Your Youngest Child Not Always Bad

Everybody knows that the baby of the family stereotypically gets away with the most. The parents are worn down, they have loosened up somewhat, and are sometimes just plain tired. I know I hold my youngest to some pretty firm expectations in most situations. She has chores and behaviors that I expect to see from a six-year-old.

But sometimes, I do let her get pretty cuddly when she asks. She’s the only one that still fits on my lap anymore, and I miss having smaller sized children for that reason. (Is that a crime??)

Cuddling Close With My Youngest

In church this week, I let her sit on my lap facing me while the others stood up next to my parents, singing. For a while, I wondered if I was doing the classic “babying” thing. Not making her do what she could do because I was letting her stay young for a little while.

As I sang a hymn, I was surprised to find that she was tracking my finger as I showed her the words I was singing. I had thought she would zone out and not be interested. She was cuddled up tight to my chest with her head tucked under my chin. I kept going, and when it came to a part with easy repetitive words she sang out with me.  Hey, something was really happening here.

Intimate Mommy Moment With Youngest Child

As we went along to the last verses, I noticed she was trying to even keep up with my singing. She can’t possibly read that fast, so I know she was just trying to copy what she heard. I realized that if I’d made her stand up and follow along, she would have never caught the details of what I was doing. She would have certainly zoned out and distracted herself with something else. By allowing her to stay so close, she really learned something and we had a wonderful intimate moment.

So maybe babying the youngest can be the right call in certain moments. Maybe that’s the way that child can still feel part of something when they don’t yet have the skills to really do it on their own. And maybe, having that pseudo-baby moment now and then isn’t so bad for parents either.

Creative Commons License photo credit: spaceodissey

Babying Your Youngest Child Not Always Bad

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Babying Your Youngest Child Not Always Bad. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Apr 2010
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