Toddler Crossing Fingers? This is probably why…

Your toddler is working hard to master a new skill. They just love practicing that new-found independence as they cross their fingers and hold out for the perfect moment at which to attempt it.

“What does it mean when babies cross their fingers?” is a question that has been asked by many parents. The answer to this question is, “It’s probably because they’re scared of something.”

Toddler Crossing Fingers? This is probably why...

Do you have a child that is always crossing his or her fingers? Are you concerned that it’s a symptom of autism? Find out why your youngster is continuously crossing his or her fingers…


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Isn’t that strange? Your toddler’s fingers are always crossed. Or maybe just once in a while.  

In any case, it seems strange.

Other toddlers haven’t crossed their index and middle fingers, have you?  

I can guarantee you, as an occupational therapist, that there is a reason! You’ve probably never heard of it before.  


Help… My two-year-old is crossing his fingers.

It’s natural to be worried, if not outright terrified, if your youngster is crossing their fingers. Older infants may begin to cross their fingers as well. While alarming, the ability of newborns and toddlers to cross their fingers is amazing since it demands precision…

But this isn’t the norm.  

Take a deep breath and relax; you’ve arrived at the perfect spot. Let’s begin by dealing with the elephant in the room…


Is Crossing Your Fingers an Autism Symptom?

You may have wondered or even Googled to find your way here “Is Crossing Your Fingers an Autism Symptom?”  

Not precisely, is the response. There are several more indicators that a kid may have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including but not limited to:

  • Social engagement and connection with others are lacking.
  • Speech development is delayed.
  • Faces with no expressions
  • Insufficient eye contact
  • Behaviour that is impulsive
  • Words or acts are repeated.
  • Likes to be alone.

Did you notice how “kid crosses fingers all the time” might be an indication of autism? 

Repetitive statements or acts are common in children with ASD. However, not all children with autism have repeated words and actions, and some children with repetitive words and actions do not have autism.  

A toddler or youngster may do a variety of bizarre movements, like crossing his or her fingers frequently. In addition, some children may rub their fingers together or twist their fingers repeatedly.  

Hand flapping, swaying, and spinning in circles are some of the most typical repetitive actions.  

Even yet, such behaviors aren’t always indicative of Autism.

When a child’s healthcare experts diagnose him or her with Autism, they consider a number of variables, the most important of which are social skills and interaction.  

If your kid exhibits any of the symptoms described above, as well as the repeated activity of crossing their fingers, your child may have Autism. You don’t have to figure it out on your own, however. Because of the high frequency of ASD, physicians are typically highly sensitive to a parent’s worry and may point you in the right direction for an assessment.  

Whether or not your kid has Autism, the reason they’re crossing, flapping, rocking, or twisting their fingers is the same…


Why is it that my toddler keeps crossing his fingers?

Sensory processing is the secret reason why a youngster does these strange, quirky, and uncommon activities. Sensory processing is a brain function that interprets and responds to information received via all of the senses.

I’ll give you a few of instances… 

  • It’s your sensory processing when you feel the tag on the back of your shirt.
  • It’s because of your sensory processing that you become dizzy spinning about with your youngster.
  • It’s because of your sensory processing that when you pull a pile of blankets over top of you at night and feel calm from the weight of the blankets!

While sensory processing isn’t something we talk about every day, it’s an important element of our children’s development. And, like every other aspect of growth, the sensory system isn’t always functioning properly.


When a child’s sensory system isn’t functioning properly, he or she may either seek out additional sensations or attempt to avoid them. As a consequence, you’ll notice unique bodily gestures and activities, such as a youngster crossing his fingers. 

Sensory difficulties or sensory symptoms are the strange or eccentric behaviors that arise as a consequence of a child’s sensory processing.   


What Should I Do If My Toddler or Child Keeps Crossing His or Her Fingers?

Crossing your young girl or boy’s fingers is likely a pleasurable experience for them. Right now, try crossing your fingers. Simply close your eyes and concentrate on the experience.

Around the index and middle fingers, you might feel pressure and a tightness.  

While this may seem self-evident, we often take it for granted. Babies, toddlers, and even older children who start crossing their fingers all the time like the sensation.  

Because of their sensory system’s unique mechanism, they appreciate it or, in sensory terms, seek it out.

The sensation of “pressure” is felt via a sense you may not be familiar with: proprioception. As vision is our sense of seeing, proprioception is our sense of bodily awareness. 

Our muscles and joints include sensory receptors that provide sensory information to the brain. They become active if they are pressed or come into contact with anything. Our eyes serve as vision receptors, and when light strikes them, it transmits information to the brain. 

Because their sensory system isn’t receiving enough proprioceptive information, children and toddlers who cross their fingers are typically looking for more.

Proprioceptive input may also be obtained in the following ways:

  • Hugging
  • Jumping
  • Climbing
  • Underneath thick blankets
  • Running
  • Squeezing into a confined space
  • Having to carry, push, and drag big items

Any of these motions should be considered sensory red flags if your kid seeks them out on a frequent basis. 

In fact, a youngster who crosses his fingers continuously is a sensory red flag. Download our free printable checklist to see if you’re missing any additional sensory red flags.

That isn’t always a negative thing; it just indicates that they may need assistance with their sensory processing. Sensory processing disorders cause children to be distracted by sensations they want or don’t want.

They often struggle with attention, following instructions, finicky eating, sleeping, and socializing as a result of this distraction. 

However, you may employ specialized sensory exercises, which are often quite easy, to assist your kid enhance their sensory processing so that habits like crossing their fingers become less frequent or even disappear! I’ll get to it in a minute.

**In this brand new free resource for parents, learn how to aid your kid with their sensory needs: Getting the Most Out of Your Senses The Seven-Day Challenge: Meltdowns, hyperactivity, poor focus, and sensory sensitivities will all be crushed! It will begin shortly and will not last long. Place your name on the waiting list! **


Sensory issues affect the great majority, if not all, children with Autism. Their sensory system seems to be malfunctioning. However, it’s crucial to remember that just because a kid has sensory difficulties doesn’t mean they have Autism.

It isn’t a one-way street.

Many children with sensory issues may not have autism. Learn more about the connection between autism and sensory difficulties in this article. 

Take a look at this graph, which depicts all children with sensory difficulties. Some people have sensory abnormalities that are so severe that they are diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, despite the fact that it is not a recognized diagnosis in the DSM-5. Children with Autism account for a small percentage of children with sensory difficulties, but not all:



When It’s More Likely for Kids to Cross Their Fingers…

Some toddlers and youngsters will constantly cross their fingers. Others, on the other hand, may cross their fingers more while they’re:

  • When a youngster crosses their fingers, the proprioceptive feedback they get is relaxing. In general, all proprioceptive feelings are. It’s understandable that as a child’s anxiety levels rise, they seek for soothing stimulus.
  • Eating: Many children with sensory issues have difficulty eating a variety of foods. When they’re overwhelmed by texture or flavor, they cross their fingers to re-establish the soothing input. 
  • When a youngster is angry and sobbing, he or she is seeking for a means to calm down. If they’ve discovered that crossing their fingers helps them relax, then they’re going to do it!
  • Excited: A kid might get so enthralled that they feel as if they’re going to float away since it’s all too much for them to bear. They may be attempting to center themselves by experiencing the pressure and relaxation of crossing their fingers amid their enthusiasm. 

It should also be mentioned that some children will continue to cross their fingers out of habit over time, even if the sensory demand has decreased.


Should I Discourage My Toddler from Crossing His Fingers All the Time? 

It may seem strange to your youngster that he or she is crossing their fingers. It’s not normal, but you can see why now. Unless you see your child’s fingers turning color due to a lack of blood flow or their fine motor skills being harmed because they cross their fingers so often, there is usually no harm done to them.

Those are incredibly uncommon occurrences, and I’ve never seen one in a youngster. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns about either.

You might offer them various sorts of proprioceptive input instead of just uncrossing their fingers for them, which can lead to tantrums and even sensory meltdowns.

Here’s a comprehensive selection of proprioceptive activities for toddlers and older children.

Consider a fidget toy that kids can squeeze; try out a couple different sorts since there are so many to choose from. My go-to stress reliever is a good ol’ stress ball!

If you think your youngster is still crossing their fingers out of habit, fidget toys are an excellent way to replace them.  

Compress your joints, bounce on a trampoline or bed, or stroll with a wheel barrow. All of these activities provide a significant amount of soothing proprioceptive input.  


Get a Free List of Simple Sensory Activities

Looking for more easy-to-do activities for busy parents and dads? Then get 25 Powerful Sensory Activities to Calm and Focus Your Child for free. We’ll deliver it to your email, where you may print it or save it to your phone.



More Sensory Red Flags for Toddlers


You Might Be Missing These 10 Sensory Red Flags

The Real Reason Your Child Is Overly Sensitive, Hyperactive, or Negative!

11 More Sensory Warning Signs

Sensory Issues in Toddlers: How to Spot Them



Toddlers are known to cross their fingers when they are nervous. This is probably why. Reference: toddler crosses fingers when nervous.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does crossing all fingers mean?

A: You are being asked to cross all of your fingers, which is a sign that you hope for something. This gesture shows some level of trust in the person asking or waiting for an outcome.

Do autistic toddlers cross their fingers?

A: It is hard to say, but I dont think so.

Is finger flicking normal in toddlers?

  • toddler crosses pinky and ring finger
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