15 answers

Four Year Old with Hands in Mouth

My son is 4 years old and out of nowhere about a month ago started putting his fingers in his mouth. Every time I look at him they are in his mouth. The Dr. told us to ignore it but that doesn't seem to work and we can't stand it. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? Thanks

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Featured Answers

S.,
If he's been doing this for a month, it's probably a habit now that he doesn't even know when he's doing it. I think I'd start asking him why his fingers are in his mouth when I see it. When he says I don't know, just tell him to take them out then. Try not to let the frustration show even though that will be hard. But I really think that you're dealing with a habit now that will take time and persistance as well patience to change.

best of luck!
M.-wife and mom to 4 girls ages 5 to 10

More Answers

My 4 yr. old daughter does this too. It used to be ALL the time, now it is only once in a great while. I don't make a big deal out of it, I just say "get your hands out of your mouth" and move on with my day once she's removed them. Eventually she gets tired of hearing me say it. I'm trying to break my newly 3 yr. old daughter of thumb sucking right now as well. Progress is slow, but I guess every little bit is closer to the end.. Good luck!

Same problem here. I keep reminding her to take her hands out of her mouth. I did notice the gums behind her molars were kind of taunt and chalked it up to her back molars trying to wiggle their way in. I have yet to see them, but she has pretty much stopped with putting her hands in her mouth.

My 4 yr old daughter does this lately too.. She did it for a while while she was 3 also, and I just kept telling her to keep her hands out of her mouth and eventually she stopped. Now all of a sudden she is doing it again. I'm thinking maybe its a nervous/shy thing for her right now that she'll out grow. But each time she does it I just make sure to firmly tell her to get her hands out of her mouth and explain how "yuckie" it is. She seems to be doing it a bit less now.

S.,
If he's been doing this for a month, it's probably a habit now that he doesn't even know when he's doing it. I think I'd start asking him why his fingers are in his mouth when I see it. When he says I don't know, just tell him to take them out then. Try not to let the frustration show even though that will be hard. But I really think that you're dealing with a habit now that will take time and persistance as well patience to change.

best of luck!
M.-wife and mom to 4 girls ages 5 to 10

Is it spreading ? My almost 4 yr old just out of the blue about a month ago started putting his hands in his mouth and sucking on his fingers... Never before!!!
I havn't done it yet, but I was thinking about getting some of that "no bite" nail polish and putting it on his finger nails... BUT in the interem I just tell him to get his hands out of his mouth and go about my day...

Greetings S.,

Please, what ever you do don't go the hot sauce or tape route.
Our 3yr.old grandson just recently started doing this also.
He doesn't visit often, however when ever we see him put his fingers in his mouth we just tell him, in a mean business kind of tone, to take his fingers out of his mouth. He usually takes them right out.
I believe you get what you expect, so expect that he will stop sucking his fingers soon.
Much success.

With joy, love and peace,
S.

S.,

My 3 year old son just started this habit about 3 weeks ago. He puts his fingers so far back in his mouth until he gags and throws up or he licks his fingers. I know, it's disgusting. I just keep telling him that there are alot of germs on his hands and if he keeps it up, he'll get sick and have to see a doctor. Everytime I catch him while we are home, I insist that he wash his hands thorougly. Eventually, it annoys him to have to keep going into the bathroom, climbing on the stool, and washing his hands. So far, this seems to be slowly breaking the habit. I'm not focusing on this habit too much because then it becomes a situation where he'll keep doing it just to get attention.

I coach a little girl who just started doing this, and she'll be four next month. She's kind of out of her comfort zone while I'm coaching her with other kids (she's usually fine when it's just her and me). I think that has something to do with it. I just tell her I won't hold her hand if she keeps putting it in her mouth. That usually works... sometimes she forgets and puts it back in. I try not to pick too much about it; I don't want her developing a "complex" over it. It's probaby just a phase with your son, too, like the doctor said. I bet he'll quit doing it soon. It seems like my almost three-year-old takes about a month to go through her less-appealing "phases." Good luck.

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