Our three-year-old son has a habit of wiggling his fingers in front of his eyes/face. Is this common for a toddler?

I previously asked whether arranging toy cars in a line or crying when things are not in order is normal, and I gathered that they are both normal and common.

I am wondering whether wiggling fingers in front of eyes is as common. To clarify, I am not asking for a diagnose, as in why my son is doing that, but would be happy just to know if people here have seen their children did the same thing.

  • 1
    Please open a Parenting Meta question if you want to discuss this question's topicality. May 12, 2014 at 21:12
  • I like Shauna's and jker's answers. It's probably nothing, but it would be worth investigating.
    – Marc
    Jul 10, 2014 at 16:38

5 Answers 5


There is absolutely nothing wrong with kids lining up cars, crying when things aren't the way they expect them, or being amused/intrigued by the reality of having a physical body.

Seriously... try this experiment right now. Set your hand down on the table. Move a single finger up away from the table and concentrate on feeling how the nearby muscles pull across the surface of the back of the hand and the nearby fingers. It feels weird if you stop and pay attention to it.

The fact that he can appreciate this kind of experience and you cannot is not a problem with him.


As a young child and even today as a 48.5 year old man, I wiggle my fingers in front of my eyes. I have done it all my life. Only recently did I figure out that what I was doing was helping myself focus as I am slightly ADHD. I imagine my fingers being as "fire" consuming the page in front of me, as I read. I did this most often as a child, while trying to read, because my mind was always racing and I was distracted from what I was trying to read and comprehend. I usually did it and do it when I am by myself, as I am very self-conscious of the activity when others are around me. I have been told that I will never have to worry about arthritis in my hands, because I do this quite often and it keeps my joints moving. For that I am thankful. Sometimes, when my fingers do get stiff, I start wiggling them and in no time, they are as limber as all get out and no pain at all.

Your child may be compensating for a slight deficiency in "attention keeping and focusing" or just burning off nervous energy. Although early on in my life, I saw it as a curse, because I was always getting into trouble by "adults" who did not understand what I was doing, but over the years I have not only accepted the activity as a necessary part of myself, but have come to see it as a blessing in my life, as it is now a power I possess and that no one but GOD or myself can take away from me. Believe it or not, it now adds a particular "excitement" to my life now as anytime I am having a challenge in staying focused, I just apply the technique and in no time I assimilate information that it takes many people much longer to assimilate.

  • I did the same thing when I was a kid.
    – GreySage
    Jul 18, 2016 at 17:43

I too wiggled my fingers in front of my eyes as a child. I did that for about 12 years. I don't know why I did it but it just felt good. Eventually I stopped. Now my son does it too. I personally don't think it's anything to worry about unless there are other symptoms such as withdrawal and not speaking to people.


While on their own, most of the concerns you have are normal for toddlers. However, combined, they suggest he may have some form of Autism. It would probably be a good idea to consult his pediatrician and see about a screening. At 3, he's at a good age to get an accurate result, while still being early enough to have good results from any help/intervention he may need (speech therapy if he's behind, help with social skills as he gets older, etc).


Consult with a developmental pediatrician and have him evaluated by an occupational therapist. If there is an issue, it is best to catch it at an early age.

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