My 4 Year Old Started to Touch My Arm or Legs Is That Normal

Updated on August 20, 2011
P.V. asks from Nolanville, TX
12 answers

My son turned four on August 4th. for the past 2 weeks he has this need to touching my arms, he squeezes, caresses, or just rubs the back of his hand on it and he does the same thing with my legs. This is can be if I am sitting next to him or just walking by. He can be playing DS and with one hand he will stop and carress my arm. I seems strange, but I do not know. I feels like I am a blanky.

Can someone give me a heads up.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for you thoughts. I am a very affectionate parent so is my husband, I am latin so very touchy. I just did not understand the squeezing of my arm and the way it just started. I love it, I was just worried that it could mean something that I was not doing.

Thanks again for all the info. God Bless.

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answers from Sioux City on

Been there miss that! My son is nearly 11 and every once in awhile he will sit next to me and rub the back of his hand on my arm like when he was little. They Grow up way to fast!!

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answers from Charleston on

I'm Italian, so I can feel you on the sensitive/affectionate/touchy bit! My son's almost 4 and I, too am very affectionate, I think your son just loves his Mami, and wants to feel the niceness of skin-to skin contact with her. They say that babies that get this with their moms seem to do better across the board, so I think it just does kids good, in general.

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answers from Redding on

It's not strange at all, it's so sweet!
My son was very physically affectionate too. He still is and he just turned 15. He likes brushing my hair and he'll put his arm around me while we're watching TV.

Before I had kids, I knew a little boy named Daniel. I worked with his mom and dad. From the day that kid met me, (he was still in diapers), it was love at first sight. I babysat him, gave him his first haircut. He was my little buddy. He used to lift the back of my dress or skirt and go under it and stand there rubbing the back of my legs. He liked the feel of my panty-hose. His mother never wore dresses or hose and he was fascinated. I'm pretty tall and he didn't stand much higher than the back of my knees.
He wasn't being fresh. He loved touching my face too. And kissing my lips because I wore lipstick. He was a baby and very affectionate. When he was tired, he liked rubbing his mom's neck when she held him.

I don't think you should be worried. Someday your son will be grown and you will treasure the "love pats". He loves you!
It's my guess that you caressed him plenty of times, patted him when he didn't feel well, hugged or kissed him for no particular reason.
He's showing his affection for you and that's not a bad thing at all.

I know a woman who grew up in a family that never showed any physical affection for one another. She never saw her parents kiss or hug or hold hands. They didn't kiss and hug on the children either. She told me that it made her very uncomfortable when people hugged her. I saw her about a week ago and approached her to say hi. I remembered what she had said and she actually reached out and patted me on the shoulder. I took that as a huge compliment.

I feel sad for people that are weirded out by affection. We all need it.

I bet your little boy will grow up to be an affectionate husband and father.
Treasure it while it lasts!

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answers from Philadelphia on

My son likes to cuddle with me and takes my hair and sniffs it when he is tired. He is being affectionate. I would not worry about it. He sounds like a nice kid. Enjoy it while you can because they get to a certain age where they do not want to be touched or hugged because they think it is gross or wierd.

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answers from Champaign on

I think you are he's blanky, it's a way of him learning to show affection, and I think they just like how the soft skin feels. I'm basically my sons blanky too and he's 4 1/2, does the same thing so don't get weirded out ok :) My daughter has always cuddled up and had a strong bond w/my husband and my son with me and he does exactly what your son is doing now.

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answers from Norfolk on

My son has always been a hug, snuggle and hold hands kind of guy (just like his Dad). I think it's important to give our kids all the hugs they need no matter how old they are. I can remember being about 13 and my Mom never seemed to hug me anymore, even if I needed it. My son's 11 now, and it's only a matter of time before they go looking for affection from somewhere / someone else and I'd just as soon put that off as long as I can.



answers from Dallas on

Ha! Ha! Well, you are lucky that it started late! My son whom is the same age has been doing the same thing since two years old. He's like a little cat that constantly purrs on my arm and legs or rubs his head on my arm. He has to feel skin on skin contact. If he has sweats on or pants he will lift one pant leg up to feel my leg. My two year old daughter however, makes us work for her affection. I think they are so innocent and know NO difference. My son is a very affectionate little person only towards me and I love every minute of it. Enjoy it while you can because they grow up.


answers from Dallas on

They are learning textures at this age. My son who is 3.5 is doing that as well. He will feel my hair, touch my face with the back of his hand. He will put his feet "under" me if we're sitting close together.

He's also trying his had as "kissing" on the check with the fish face thing which he find HYSTERICAL when he does it.

Unless he's touching you inappropriately (rubbing your bum or your breasts, etc) then I'd enjoy this "getting to know you" time in his life.

There WILL come a time when he doesn't want you anywhere near him and you'll wonder what happened to your loving effectionate boy...

Sending good thoughts your way.



answers from South Bend on

It's normal. My 3 year old daughter has just started to get into the habit of caressing me or Daddy's face. She usually does this when she's tired, but sometimes she'll do it if she's in a snuggly mood. :) It's cute, we enjoy it.


answers from Fort Collins on

I don't know why they do it...but I have a 4yo son that does it with my arms also. I think he just likes to touch my arm. He's not much of a cuddler anymore but I am sure he still like the contact with Mama. It's probably normal. I am not worried that it is weird or anything.



answers from Birmingham on

He's just showing his affection for you. Our children have always been very affectionate and never minded us hugging or giving a kiss in the carpool line. Enjoy this time with him ... the time will come when he's so busy you will be too far away to feel the touch of his skin.


answers from Dallas on

Normal. It's called physical affection ;)
Your not complaining about it right?