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Is my son a typical three year old or is something wrong?

My son's teacher had concerns. She was worried about him always putting things in his mouth, lack a personal space, and lack of eye contact. However, I have not noticed any issues with eye contact at home, and, of course, we really don't have any personal space at home either. However, he does put everything in his mouth. That started about four months ago.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 7:27 PM on Nov. 5, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (9)
  • I used to be a preschool teacher. All kids this age are different. But I wouldn't worry so much about putting things in his mouth, some kids do it, some not. Did you ever ask him why he puts things in his mouth? If he makes eye contact to everybody at home, then maybe he's just a little shy?!? What does the teacher mean with lack of personal space??? Never heard that before... lol
    I wouldn't worry too much, maybe talk to the teacher again, and maybe you can make an appointment with the teacher where you come to the school during the day and watch his behaviour through the window where he can't see you.
    crazypink

    Answer by crazypink at 7:45 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • My son will be three early next year and puts things in his mouth because his back molars are still coming in. Maybe your son doesn't have all his teeth in yet?
    As for the "personal space" comment, I wonder if it has something to do with some schools prohibiting kids from touching each other. (Really!)
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:52 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • Personal space is something that is taught. If you don't show him personal space at home, he won't know to give personal space anywhere else. I can tell you , as a preschool teacher, having a kid that doesn't give personal space and is hanging on me is very irritating. I have a child that is always hanging onto my leg to the point I step on him when I try to walk. I wouldn't worry about it though, he just needs to learn about personal space. As for things in the mouth, it's normal. I have 10 3 yr olds that are always putting things in their mouths. I have to wash toys daily. Eye contact is important but that is also a learned skill and in some cultures not acceptable. Being 3, I would just remind him to "look at me when you talk so I know you are hearing me."
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 8:00 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • sounds all normal to me... these days everyone expects kids to act a spacific way and if they don't then there must be soemthing "wrong". Personal space is learned, eye contact at three is here and there, and alot of kids are oraly fixated, thats just a bad habit that is easily picked up and hard to break. Keep reminding him to take things out of his mouth, and when he oversteps the "personal bubble" without saying anything gently step him back a few spaces, eventually he will learn...b ut at 3 I don't know to many 3 yr olds who seem to get personal space.
    daughteroftruth

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 2:51 AM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • I am betting the personal space thing is maybe, him being up in everyones face and stuff like that.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:26 AM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • It does not sound typical to me. Lack of eye contact is a big concern. Not respecting personal space is a big concern as well. If he hasn't learned it by now...he should very well understand it and the fact that he doesn't is a concern. Yes they have to be taught it, and he should know it by now.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:52 AM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • He makes eye contact, just not at school. And "not respecting personal space? What 3yo understands that concept? I have to tell my 3yo daily because I don't want to step on her and hurt her or I'm feeling touched out but I don't expect for her to just "get it;" it is a learned behavior and eventually she will not need daily reminders.

    And many, many children put things in their mouth; it is part of exploring, but obviously not always safe.

    Really, 3yrs old is YOUNG, a baby, and there is such a wide range of "normal." Such is the problem with putting such young children in a formal setting where the expectation is sameness and conformity because anything else is inconvenient.
    happytexasCM

    Answer by happytexasCM at 11:23 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • Is your concern that he may be autistic? Three is still very young, and none of the things he is doing qualify for a flat out diagnosis. My daughter sucks her thumb and puts everything in her mouth..even boogers! It's disgusting but we are working on it. She sometimes won't meet MY eyes, especially if she has done something she shouldn't have. And personal space? What child aknowledges personal space? They grab stuff from each other, are up in each others face...and this is often good behavior as they begin to "get" socialization. Teachers are trained to keep an eye out for abnormal behavior, but sometimes overdo it. Just keep and eye on him and work with him about these issues.
    char944

    Answer by char944 at 7:17 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

  • i think your son's teacher is making you worry about nothing. you could work with him about not being all up in people's faces though. he'll be fine.
    princessbeth79

    Answer by princessbeth79 at 8:23 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

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