Why does a child constantly stick out his tongue?

Each child grows and develops individually; the only thing that many children have in common is bad habits that are formed during the period of intrauterine development or in the process of upbringing.

There are a huge number of bad habits inherent in children.

They are distracted from fears and compensate for lack of attention and communication with parents.

Parents cope with many easily, but there are also pathological habits that negatively affect the health and development of the child.

One of these is considered to be when a child shows his tongue .

What is it - bad upbringing, a way of playing around, or does the baby have health problems? This is a question many parents ask!


So why does a baby stick out his tongue? There can be a great many reasons for this:

  • Studying your body. If a month-old baby sticks out his tongue, then he is probably just exploring his body. In his mother's womb, he was practically in one position, was unable to move and did not even see his body. But now you can move freely: wave your arms and legs, touch yourself, look at your fingers, and so on. And, of course, the baby will certainly find something soft in his mouth and want to explore it. It is not yet clear why this is needed, but the baby will definitely find out.
  • A kind of training. The tongue is a muscle, so the baby can actively develop it by moving it from side to side and also pulling it out of the mouth. It's quite normal.
  • An attempt at communication. By about 6-8 months, the baby will probably understand that he can make certain sounds, and his tongue helps him in this. He will try to move it to say something new. But some sounds are so complex that instead of them only grimaces can be obtained.
  • Hunger. An infant can use this gesture to show that he wants to eat. He will use his tongue to search for his mother’s breast. So if you've been feeding your baby for a long time, it's probably time to do it again.
  • Lack of attention or tactile contact. If you have fed your baby recently, but he still sticks out his tongue and seems to be looking for something with it, then he probably just doesn’t have enough attention. The fact is that the breast is used not only to obtain milk, but also to understand that the mother is nearby and to feel protected.
  • Teeth are being cut. In this case, the tongue can be used on an instinctive level to scratch the gums and relieve discomfort. If several teeth have already erupted, then the baby probably managed to feel them in his mouth and began to actively explore. By the way, this period can begin either at 3 or 4 months, or at 6-8.
  • Thrush or, in medical terms, candidiasis. With such a fungal disease, which, by the way, can be transmitted from the mother during passage through the birth canal, plaque forms in the oral cavity and discomfort occurs. And unpleasant sensations can cause the child to often stick out his tongue. Look into your baby's mouth and if you find a cheesy mass in it, contact your pediatrician.
  • Increased intracranial pressure. This is a very serious and quite common disease in which fluid accumulates in the brain. Its symptoms include bulging eyes, throwing the head back, restlessness, shaking of the limbs, sticking out the tongue, and others. If you notice several signs, then immediately show your child to a neurologist.
  • Hypothyroidism. This disease is characterized by insufficiency of the thyroid gland and can be congenital. Its manifestations include an increase in the size of the tongue and its protrusion (this is due to the fact that the organ simply does not fit in the mouth), a yellow tint to the skin, a decrease or, conversely, an increase in body weight, dry skin, developmental delays, and so on. In this case, treatment is required.
  • Expression of emotions. At one year old, the baby can actively express emotions using his face and tongue. So if the baby sticks it out when he is happy, then this is quite normal.
  • Whims. During periods of crisis (1.5, 3 years, 6-8 years), children can show their character and often be capricious, grimace, be indignant and mischievous. And one way to show parents your dissatisfaction is by sticking out your tongue.
  • Imitation. From 1-1.5 years old, children begin to actively imitate adults. So if a child sees that one of the family members or other people has stuck out his tongue, he will certainly try to repeat it.
  • Excessive effort. Some older children stick out their tongues when they are performing some important task.

Is there a problem if a child sticks out his tongue: in what cases should you be concerned?

The fact is that the baby does not yet know how to talk, so if he wants or needs something, he tries to express the request using gestures and facial expressions. Language becomes, in a way, a tool of communication. Seeing that the baby has stuck out its tongue, one can assume that it is hungry or wants to be paid attention to. Another reason is that the baby is sick and his health leaves much to be desired.

Parents should be wary if the baby sticks out his tongue not only when playing, but continuously, even during sleep, without retracting it back. Here it is advisable to sound the alarm and pay a visit to the pediatrician. Having examined the little one, he may send the parents with him for consultation with other medical specialists.

Tongue sticking out

The reasons for such a constant reflex as the baby demonstrating his tongue can be neurological, endocrine or infectious in nature. The presence of some alarming symptoms will be an indicator of one or another disease, which we will present below.

What to do?

So, what to do if your baby often sticks out his tongue? How to wean him off this? If you notice alarming symptoms, be sure to show your child to the doctor to rule out dangerous and serious diseases. If a specialist identifies problems, begin treatment immediately. If everything is fine with your health, then try to find out the reasons.

Possible actions:

  1. If your baby lacks your attention, take him in your arms more often, hug him, and talk to him.
  2. If the baby is very small, then you don’t need to do anything. This period will pass over time without outside intervention.
  3. You can try to distract your child. For example, offer him some toy or interesting game.
  4. If you notice a gesture when your baby is trying, then point to it every time and ask him to remove his tongue.
  5. Make sure that no one in your household sticks out their tongue in everyday life. Then the child will not repeat this.
  6. If the gesture is a way of deliberately grimacing or expressing dissatisfaction during whims, then strictly say that this cannot be done. If words don’t work, try using punishments: deprive your child of treats, don’t allow him to watch cartoons.

Sticking out tongue - manner of education

It is considered important at what stage of his life a child shows his tongue. Many parents teach their children bad habits by their example.

For example, the sticking out tongue of a father or mother always amuses the kids.

Considering that children copy the behavior model of their parents, they will certainly repeat everything. However, with a return, this manner is a gesture that allows you to indicate to your parents your displeasure or desire not to obey.

In turn, they scold the child, without thinking about the fact that they themselves imposed this bad manner.

Psychologists recommend not paying attention, this will allow the child to understand that this method of expressing their displeasure does not affect others and over time they themselves will stop showing their tongue. There is nothing wrong with this, the main thing is not to focus special attention on this habit.

And most importantly, you don’t need to be ashamed of your child when he sticks out his tongue on the street or in kindergarten, scold or punish.

It is enough to explain that this habit is bad and ugly, he will definitely listen, and over time he will completely forget about the “bad” manner.

Why does a child stick out his tongue at 2 years old?

There are several reasons why babies may have the habit of sticking out their tongue, ranging from innate reflexes to health problems.

The child sticks out his tongue. This is fine?

Babies typically explore the world using their mouths. Therefore, sticking out the tongue is the norm rather than the exception, and the main reason that encourages a child to do this is an innate reflex. In this case, we are talking about the “tongue push reflex,” which helps the baby grasp the nipple.

Reflexive tongue protruding is a common occurrence and is observed in every healthy child, and the baby outgrows this habit by 5-7 months.

Reasons why a child sticks out his tongue

Below are other common reasons, besides reflexes, why a baby might stick out their tongue.

1. Imitating adults

Many adults often stick out their tongues as a game. Usually the answer is loud laughter! According to a number of studies, infants can copy the behavior of adults by imitating them.

2. Means of expressing needs

The baby may stick out its tongue to signal to mom, “I’m hungry.” True, it happens the other way around: the baby behaves in exactly the same way to communicate: “I’m full. You can stop feeding me.”

3. Manifestation of a gag or sucking reflex

Examples of infant reflexes that can cause a baby to stick out his tongue are sucking and gagging.

The sucking reflex occurs when the area around the mouth is stroked. This movement causes the baby to move his lips and tongue in anticipation of sucking.

The gag reflex occurs when the back of the mouth or throat feels a hard object. By sticking out his tongue, the baby seems to be trying to remove a possible foreign body.

4. Unpreparedness for solid foods

Babies tend to stick out their tongues when spoon-fed semi-solid foods. If a child does this, it means that he still has a gag reflex and is not ready for semi-solids and solids.

Children stop doing this as soon as the tongue can press on the upper part of the palate and swallow food.

5. Mouth breathing

The child may stick his tongue out when breathing through his mouth. The reasons for this can be very different: cough, cold, sinus blockage, allergies, inflammation of the tonsils or adenoids.

6. Discomfort due to gas

Some children may stick out their tongue during gas passage due to discomfort and pain.

7. Macroglossia

Macroglossia is an abnormal enlargement of the tongue such that it is very difficult to hold it in the mouth. Some children may develop this condition due to conditions such as Down syndrome, hypothyroidism, or Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome.

Sometimes a large tongue can be inherited from parents or be the result of a tumor or injury.

8. Micrognathia

Some babies are born with a small chin and jaw, making it difficult to hold their tongue in such a mouth. This condition is known as micrognathia and for many people it goes away on its own as the mouth grows and muscles develop by 5-7 months of age.

Other causes of micrognathia are cleft palate and underlying diseases such as Marfan disease, trisomy 13, trisomy 18, Pierre Robin syndrome, etc. In this case, the tongue size is normal, but the chin is small.

9. Hypotension

Hypotonia is low muscle tone that can affect several muscles in the body, including the tongue. In such cases, the child's tongue protrudes from the mouth. This can happen due to various diseases such as Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Rett syndrome, etc.

10. Abnormal tissue growth in the mouth

Tissues that grow abnormally in the mouth or on the tongue can fill the space so much that the tongue becomes cramped and the child is forced to stick it out.

The reasons why this happens: a tumor or infection of the salivary gland or a thyroid duct cyst.

11. Orofacial-functional disorder

Tongue thrusting is the most common type of orofacial functional disorder (OMD), a group of facial and oral disorders. This often occurs due to abnormal resting position of the tongue.

The disorder can develop due to various reasons, such as congenital problems, family history, and even prolonged thumb sucking.


1. Is a baby's tongue sticking out a sign of teething?

When your baby is teething, he may feel irritation in his mouth and instinctively begin to push out his tongue. Look for other accompanying symptoms of baby teeth, such as swollen or red gums, excessive drooling, and irritability.

Causes of a child's tongue sticking out

Good day to you, dear friends! Today we will look at another issue that concerns the health of your baby. We're talking about sticking out the tongue. Surely this phenomenon has not passed by any young family and, I am sure, it causes concern among parents. “What if this is a very serious illness?” - This is exactly what most mothers think.

Looking ahead a little, I would like to say right away that sticking out the tongue is a completely normal phenomenon for infants. Almost any small child will sooner or later start doing this. He will also spit and drool, there is no escape from this.

It is also worth distinguishing between two concepts: whether the baby sticks his tongue out on his own or whether it constantly falls out and does not hold on. If you have the second option, then here you urgently need to sound the alarm and run to the pediatrician.

I will help you figure out the reasons for the tongue sticking out. It is also worth noting that they may differ depending on the age of the baby.

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