Is This Normal for a 5 Year Old?

Updated on October 30, 2009
A.D. asks from Sammamish, WA
17 answers

My son who is 5 repeats things alot. If he is excited about something (i.e., carwash), he will keep asking about it and repeating what I said 10 times a day or more. I ask him why he needs to repeat, and he says "because he does". I think he also might have OCD. He blinks alot and makes weird noises with his mouth throughout the day. He constantly lifts his pants up even if its tight around his waist and I can see he does it more when he is put on the spot. Is this normal?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone! I feel like I am so alone..the kids in his class and in our neighborhood think he is a bit off. But as one mom says, it is totally normal at this age, when do I start worrying? I have brought this up to the pediatrician, and she thinks he's normal but she doesn't see him day to day. She sees him for 10 minutes. What if she's wrong. Another thing is that we have individual coverage for insurance and I read somewhere that if you have autism or that spectrum, they can deny you coverage? When is it okay and when do you stary worrying? I will have to do more research, but again a big THANK YOU to everyone!

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answers from Portland on

What you describe is often easily treated with homeopathy.
Call it whatever you like.
When my son had some issues-anger and a tic of looking over his left shoulder repeatedly-he responded to the homeopathic remedy the most.
All of the therapy etc did not seem to effect it at all.
The thing with homeopathic medicine is that if you find the right remedy it is magical. But, there are more than 2000 remedies!
So, I highly suggest finding a trained professional that homeopathy is their specialty. I can suggest Dr.Tim Shannon in Portland. He is great and he works with kids.

I started with Dr. Ullman in Washington he is the author of ritilan free kids. If Dr. Shannon does not work I would see about a referral from Dr. Ulmann.

Good luck.

There are lots of alternative treatments out there. I find
that nutritional issues often effect brain development also.
A good Omega III can help with brain development in kids.
I hope this helps.

M. Hawkins, LAc

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answers from Portland on

It is probably TOTALLY NORMAL but I'd have him tested- Lots of stuff is missed in childhood- As far as the tic goes could just be a nervous habit he will break? Some of the things you stated they grow out of-- I firmly believe all kids should get a eval
Good luck and don't freak out just yet;-)

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answers from Seattle on

It's certainly happens a LOT --- . Is your boy extra bright?? -- There is a kind of behaviour that goes with Asbergers' syndrome. OCD is also a possibiility- as is ''just being who he is''--. He is NO way alone - .
Forgive me, A.-- I'm going to tell you a slightly long story. A little girl started walking- but always - always on her tiptoes -- doctors - physical specialists - for years her parents tried to 'correct' her - no physical reason- no remedy- though the parents tried hard to find out--. One day- a doctor said '''' she needs to be in ballet'' - they took her to PNB- she was incredibly talented - and as soon as she started ballet- she stopped walking on her toes. We can create a problem - or we can celebrate their incredible gifts -- NO child is a vanilla '''exactly average'' --- Blessings dear heart-
J.- aka- Old Mom

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answers from Portland on


First off, don't panic. I am going to say some words that depending on how much t.v./movie specials you've watched may freak you out. BUT DON'T PANIC. Remember, despite what the tv execs say, shows are not reality.

It sounds very similar to my son's symptoms 8 years ago; it sounds like Tourette's. (Again, don't panic!) The repeating words-- ecolalia, repetative motions- tics, and noises -- vocal tics, are all tell tale signs. (Don't panic) In addition OCD is often a secondary issue with Tourette's. (Don't panic :))

My 13 year old son has Tourette's which presents itself with rather mild tic symptoms and is accompanied by OCD. He is a straight 'A' student, has many good friends, plays on baseball and basketball teams, does Tae Kwon Do, participates in Boy Scouts, plays both the piano and drums.... I can go on and on. Tourette's is just something extra he has had to learn to work around, just as anybody with asthma, diabetes, allergies, etc. To be honest with you the OCD has caused bigger issues than the tics.

I highly recommend you make an appointment with a pediatric nuerologist. You will notice I used the words 'sounds like': I can't diagnos your son :), duh. I don't know where you are located but OHSU has a terrific set up. They even have a Tourette's medical group that is made up of pediatric specialists from multiple fields. We saw Dr. Koch, pronounced Coke, for the official diagnosis. Now we just return every 6 months, or so, to check in. They have also been able to help us with controlling the OCD, which got bad for us as we entered puberty. (Yea rah, puberty.)

I know this next bit of advice will sound counter intuitive but at this point DO NOT visit the Tourette's Assoc website question and answer section. It will freak you out. So often the people who write in with questions/issues are at the end of their rope and their feelings of desperation are quite strong.

Get a good pediatric nuerologist and read, read, read.

Please also feel free to contact me via this website.

Remember: don't panic :).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son is 6 and repeats things a lot. It's usually pretty normal for this age. It's their way of trying to get our attention. My son will repeat himself over and over if he believes I'm not listening. As for whether or not your son may have OCD, I have OCD and blinking a lot and making noises from his mouth are not OCD signs/signals. My son also is a toothpick, so even if his pants are on, up and a belt is looped tightly around it, he is constantly fidgeting with his pants. Might have to equip your little man with a pair of slim jeans or the jeans that have the adjustable strap on the inside with buttons. If at all, you are concerned for anything your son's behavior is displaying, don't be afraid to mention it to his doctor. I took my son in for some other underlining symptoms he kept displaying in his behavior. We got a referral to a behavioral therapist (this was 2 yr ago). He was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder. He doesn't require meds, but has to see a therapist for awhile to help him learn how to cope with this disorder. I'm glad I mentioned something or even though I was only trying to help, I could've hindered my son's learning skills. I hope this helps and good luck! :D

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answers from Seattle on


Sounds a little more than just OCD his "tics" remind me of tourrete syndrome. I dont want to scare you but I would have it looked at. I think its normal to repeat things over and over my daughter does that but the pulling up his pants and the blinking a lot and the noises with his mouth seem as if it may be something more but really may be nothing more than his personality. I would bring it up next time you are at his Dr.s and if they aren't willing to look further into it find someone that will. good luck.

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answers from Seattle on


The repeating seems to be totally normal. My son just turned 6 and will repeat the same thing ten times in ten minutes or less.

The blinking and odd noises put me in mind of Tourett's Syndrome. But I have my medical degree from a bubble gum machine so take this as you will.

Hope at least some of this helps,

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answers from Seattle on

If you think he might have OCD, I'd get him checked, if for nothing else than peace of mind... but just from what you describe, sounds TOTALLY normal to me. In fact, if he's only repeating 10 times a day, I'd feel blessed. When my son was 5 he might repeat something 10 times in 5 minutes. And keep repeating/brining it up over and over again all day from breakfast to bedtime. If it's something "funny" we're talking non-stop for hours...but not in the same way a friend of mine who's child is autistic will repeat things for hours.

Most young children have a repeat-until-mastered thing going on with them (one reason why starfall works so well for teaching reading), and then that thing that they've been repeating...once mastered... is then "comfy". Why a child can watch a movie 100+ times, and an adult can only watch it occasionally or they become bored with it. There's also a lack of "impulse control". If they're excited about something, it's constantly burbling out over and over to the same person... whereas an adult might be equally excited, but keep it in their head... or a teenager calls 50 friends to tell each and every one of them how excited they are.

So I would say, sounds totally normal to me, but if it feels really off to YOU ... by all means, get a professional opinion.


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answers from Portland on

Making noises and repeating things can also be a sign of Tourette's. A friend of mine has a son who was diagnosed with it. Those are things that he does.
It can be dealt with. And her son is extremely bright. He's always coming up with new and inventive ideas.
Please get him checked out. If you aren't happy with what you are told keep searching.
Good Luck and Enjoy your child!

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answers from Portland on

Zoe has given you a good description of normal behavior.

I suggest that you do get an evaluation, tho OCD is just one possible cause for his behavior. I also suggest that he could be quite normal. Kids that age do repeat words a lot. One clue for you is the tone of voice with which he repeats words. If his tone sounds like he's interested then I think it's most likely normal.

Talking about himself in the third person is common at this age. I even remember assuming this way of talking when my grandkids were this age. ie: "Grandma needs to go home now." And I seem to recall that they would refer to me as Grandma instead of you. ie: "Grandma go home now?" instead of "you go home?" Seems funny now. It's all a part of learning language.

As to the eye blinking and pulling up his pants there could be some very rational reasons for that too. Dry eyes, itchy eyes are a couple. It could be that he had dry,itchy eyes at one point and he continues to blink out of habit, even. Blinking a lot could also mean that he has difficulty seeing.

Perhaps he pulls up his pants out of habit, also, if he sometimes wears loose pants that do slide down. Or the pants may be uncomfortable. Some kids are more sensitive to pressure/touch then others.

If the actions you describe are outside the norm I suspect that he doesn't have a mental illness like OCD but instead a physical disorder that would result in an awareness of a learning disorder once he enters the school system. It is best to rule that out (or in) before he starts school.

Your local school district is required to provide testing for any condition that could interfere with a child's learning. They are required to do this as early as possible. Some babies are evaluated while still a baby baby. Call the District Intermediate Education Service District. If, after listening to your description they think the situation may warrant additional screening they will make an appointment for you and your son. If they find that something needs attention they will provide the treatment free of charge.

An evaluation will relieve your mind or enable you to get him the help he needs. Either way you and he are winners.



answers from Seattle on

He sounds totally normal to me :) I have a five year old boy and he does all sorts of crazy things that I find myself asking why?!? My son, who is totally normal by the way, even hits his ears over and over when he gets excited or nervous. He too will ask or say the same thing over and over. I'd say your son sounds like a normal, active, learning, experimenting little boy. :)

That being said, if you are concerned then go get him checked out. I'd make an appt with your pediatritian and talk to him/her about it. If your Dr thinks it is worth being checked out further, they can send you to a Dr that can help. I hope that helps :)



answers from Seattle on

We just asked our ped. about OCD and she said that the symptoms tend to appear when kids are school aged.

More than that though, has he been evaluated for a developmental disorder? I'm not trying to scare you, but those are behaviors common to developmental issues.

I don't have a 5 year old, so those may well be totally normal, but just a little other input! :)



answers from Spokane on

Hi A. - You are far from alone!!! I just read your "So What Happened". Yes, boys will be boys (I got 2 of them and I have 4 brothers) but there are times when us moms know that something is not clicking and that is clearly happening with you. I am glad that you have taken him to the peditrician but I would ask for a referral to a developmental peditrician/neurologist for a complete evaluation. I have had to go through that process with my youngest. It is better to be proactive then reactive! Several things that you can do to get ready for this is...

- video tape your son on several occasions to document the behavior that you are concerned about. use this to show the specialist the concerns.
- keep a written journal (with dates & times as well as notes) of his behavior, meals (what exactly he is eating - there may be an unknown allergy affecting this too), sleeping, etc. This will help see if there is a possible trigger that would help set it off or if it is constant. Again share this with the specialist.

These 2 things alone will help so much. I also suggest that you check your area for a parent support group (for parents of special needs kids) - check at the hospital, doctor's offices, etc. I have found that to be a great support as well as additional source of information and resources - again YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

On your concern about insurance... typically if you already have coverage they can not take it away because of a specific diagnosis. The other thing to keep in mind is "if" (and not saying that there is anything wrong - because every kids is perfect as God made them!) your son does receive a diagnosis that can actually open some doors. He might even qualify for medical coverage under the state Medicaid program.

He more than likely will also qualify for protection under IDEA & 504 for schooling. (if it comes to that shoot me an e-mail & I will send you resources that will help deal with schools).

But take it one day at a time & you and your son will be better off for it! The video & journal will be your biggest tools to use in helping your son, especially if he is having problems with other kids. Each child/person is unique and with the right tools in life we will live life to the fullest! Take care & God Bless!



answers from Seattle on

My 5 year old will repeat things 10 times in less than 5 minutes, so if yours is only doing it that many times in one day, you may be lucky. LOL I would say perfectly normal. As he gets older, he will have friends over. Listen to their speech patterns. You should be able to get some clue from those when to worry.



answers from Spokane on

When my son was in kindergarten (6 yrs. old) he would blink his eyes a lot and open his mouth a little on a regular basis. His teacher noticed it and mentioned it to our school nurse and then our gym teacher noticed it and brought it to her attention as well. My husband and I brought our son to the Dr. and he was diagnosed with having "ticks". He has grown out of them as he is 9 now, but he went through many of them. Good Luck!




answers from Seattle on

My son was doing the blinking alot, and So I took him to eye dr, he has stigmatisms in each eye so hard to focus. So blinking to compensate. Now he has glasses and doenst blink like that anymore


answers from Eugene on

Boys make lots of noise. They almost never go silent unless they are up to no good. If he repeats things it's a sign he does not think he has been heard.
Children go through many phases. How long has he been doing these things?

Also have his eyes checked he could be light sensitive or perhaps he has trouble seeing.

Good luck. You seem to be very observant which is good for your child.

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