7 answers

6 Year Old Smells His Fingers

My 6 year old son smells his fingers many times a day. He has always liked to smell things, but I have noticed that this seems to have become some type of habit for him. Has anyone else noticed this? I would say he is a very happy, bright boy, quite particular and enjoys school.

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My five-year-old has the problem, too. I had the same problem as a child. It is a habit that will continue without intervention. It is partly a comfort thing. I'm not sure what it is related to. I mentioned the problem to our pediatrician a few months ago, but she didn't seem worried unless it was accompanied by frequent night waking and nightmares. However, I think it is something to worry about.

my friend started smelling her fingers often when she was in the fifth grade. It turned out it was a tick, she has tourrettes. Not say that is what your son is doing, but pointing out the possibility. My friend is grown now, still has tourettes, but her ticks are mild and people don't generally notice unless she tells them what to notice, she's just that good at covering the few she has.

I smell my fingers every time I touch something weird. I like to know what my hands smell like. Sometimes, like after cooking with garlic, the smell is strong and doesn't go away, and I have to keep doing it. Encourage proper hand washing, and have him rub some stainless steel if you see him doing it a lot. It's a compulsive behavior, but there's nothing wrong with it.

My 6 year old does the very same thing. He is a very sensitive kid who has a keen sense of smell for both good and bad. When I notice him smelling his fingers it is usually because his hands are dirty. I ask him to wash his hands and he usually stops. He is also very picky about which soaps he will use.
He also smells other things as a way to investigate, like toys or new food before he will take a bite. It is sense he uses more than other people. Last weekend during the heat wave we were sitting outside in the evening. He kept saying he smelled a skunk. About 15 minutes after he first smelled it we also started smelling the skunk. He just has a better sense of smell just like some people have better eye sight or hearing.
I wouldn't worry about it unless it becomes an issue that is effecting his day. I would even encourage him to explore and understand smell. It would be a great science lesson.

I have a 2 1/2 year old who has recently started clearing his throat a lot, over and over again. It's been going on for about 5 weeks now. So I looked it up on the internet and it sounds like it is a tic, more specifically, a vocal tic. These article talked about other types of tics, one of which was compulsive smelling of objects. It went on to say that most tics will be transient - less than one year in duration. I'm taking my child in to the pediatrician next week for more info. Hope this helps.

I second Kimberly's comment ... it could be a tic. Many people have them and this may just be his unique thing. I would contact the pediatrician's office for their input.

I have seen kids do things like have their hands in their pants, or their armpits and then smell them---this is obviously a problem habit.
However, if he just likes smelling things in general, and maybe his hands smell like plants, or dirt, or food and he likes that...then I would just make sure he has good enough hygiene for his health, and that he understands that others may see this habit as strange and gross.

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