Why Is My Child Constantly Spitting?

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November 20, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

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Spitting can be a way for your child to self-regulate or express frustration, anger, or anxiety. It can also be caused by medical conditions such as acid reflux or allergies.

Additionally, some children may spit for fun or to seek attention. Understanding the underlying reasons for your child’s spitting behavior is important in addressing and managing it effectively. It is crucial to provide appropriate discipline and teach them alternative ways to express their feelings.

By implementing strategies that address their social and communication skills, you can help them overcome this habit. It’s important to remember that spitting is not only disrespectful but can also spread germs.

The Reasons Behind Spitting Behavior

Spitting is a common behavior observed in some children, and as parents, it can be concerning and puzzling. However, it is important to remember that there are various reasons why a child may engage in this behavior. By understanding the underlying causes, we can better address the issue and support our children effectively.

Sensory Input And Self-regulation

Spitting can provide sensory input that helps children self-regulate. Many children with sensory processing difficulties may engage in spitting as a way to seek oral sensory stimulation. They may find the act of spitting soothing and calming, allowing them to cope with overwhelming sensory information. It is crucial to identify if your child has sensory needs and provide appropriate alternatives to fulfill their sensory cravings.

Excessive Saliva Production From Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions, such as acid reflux or allergies, can contribute to excessive saliva production, leading to spitting behavior. If your child has been diagnosed with any medical conditions that affect saliva production, it is essential to work closely with their healthcare provider to manage the symptoms and reduce spitting episodes. Medical intervention, along with behavior strategies, can significantly improve the situation.

Emotional Expression: Frustration, Anger, And Anxiety

Spitting might also be a means for your child to express emotions like frustration, anger, or anxiety. Young children who struggle with verbal communication may resort to spitting as a way to convey strong emotions that they cannot express through words. It is crucial to help our children develop appropriate emotional coping strategies and provide them with alternative communication methods that are more socially accepted.

Remember, all children are unique, and the reasons behind spitting behavior can vary from child to child. By gaining a better understanding of these underlying causes, we can approach the issue with empathy, patience, and effective strategies to guide our children towards more appropriate behaviors.

Spitting As A Form Of Communication

Children with developmental disorders. Understanding the underlying causes can help parents address the behavior effectively and encourage healthier forms of communication.

r help, expressing feelings with words, using alternative communication strategies like sign language or picture cards. Consistently reinforce and reward positive behaviors while redirecting the child’s attention when they begin to spit. It is important to stay calm and patient, as getting angry or frustrated may reinforce the behavior. Seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor experienced in working with children can also provide valuable guidance and strategies for addressing spitting behavior. Remember, every child is unique, and it may take time and consistent effort to help them find alternative ways to communicate their feelings.

Other Factors Contributing To Spitting Behavior

Spitting behavior in children can be caused by various factors. Excessive saliva production due to medical conditions like acid reflux or allergies, as well as emotional expression such as frustration or anxiety, can lead to spitting. Additionally, children may spit for fun or entertainment.

Understanding the underlying reasons can help parents address and discourage this behavior effectively.

Finding Spitting Entertaining Or Stimulating

Some children may engage in spitting behavior simply because they find it entertaining or stimulating. The act of spitting can provide sensory input that helps them self-regulate. It may give them a sense of control or amusement, especially if they receive a reaction from those around them. As parents, it’s important to understand that this behavior is not necessarily a sign of disobedience or defiance, but rather a lack of understanding and self-control.

Lack Of Self-control And Language Skills

Another factor contributing to spitting behavior in children is a lack of self-control and language skills. Many toddlers and preschoolers have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally, especially when they feel frustrated or angry. Spitting becomes a way for them to communicate their feelings, as they don’t yet have the language skills to do so effectively. It’s important to remember that they are still developing their emotional regulation and communication abilities, and patience and understanding are key in addressing this behavior.

Parents can help their children in these situations by providing alternative ways to express emotions and teaching them appropriate social and communication skills. Encouraging turn-taking, asking to play nicely, and expressing emotions in words are some examples of skills that can be taught to replace spitting behavior. Positive reinforcement, both tangible and verbal, can also reinforce the desired behaviors and discourage spitting. By addressing the underlying issues and providing guidance and support, parents can help their children overcome the habit of spitting and develop healthier ways of expressing themselves.

Why Is My Child Constantly Spitting?

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Effective Strategies To Stop Your Child From Spitting

Is your child constantly spitting? Understanding the reasons behind this behavior is crucial. It could be due to sensory input, medical issues like acid reflux or allergies, or emotional expression. Implement effective strategies and teach appropriate social skills to help your child stop spitting.

Providing Alternative Sensory Experiences

One effective strategy to stop your child from spitting is to provide alternative sensory experiences that fulfill their need for oral stimulation. Offer them safe and appropriate objects to chew on, such as teething toys or chewable necklaces. This can redirect their spitting behavior towards more socially acceptable outlets while still addressing their sensory needs.

Teaching Communication And Emotional Regulation Skills

Another strategy is to teach your child communication and emotional regulation skills. Often, spitting can be a way for them to express their frustration or anxiety when they don’t have the verbal ability to do so. Encourage them to use words or other non-spitting methods to express their feelings. Role-play different scenarios and provide them with the language they need to communicate effectively.

Consistent Boundaries And Consequences

Establishing consistent boundaries and consequences is crucial in stopping your child’s spitting behavior. Clearly communicate the expectations and rules regarding spitting, emphasizing that it is unacceptable and disrespectful. When your child spits, calmly but firmly enforce the consequences, such as time-out or loss of privileges. Consistency in following through with consequences will help your child understand the seriousness of their actions and motivate them to stop spitting.

By implementing these effective strategies – Providing Alternative Sensory Experiences, Teaching Communication and Emotional Regulation Skills, and Consistent Boundaries and Consequences – you can help your child overcome their spitting habit and develop more appropriate behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions On Why Is My Child Constantly Spitting?

What To Do When A Child Keeps Spitting?

When a child keeps spitting, it can be due to various reasons. Some possible causes include sensory input, medical conditions like acid reflux or allergies, emotional expression, frustration, anger, anxiety, or even as a sign of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Additionally, some children may spit for fun or entertainment purposes.

To address this behavior, it is important to use appropriate behavior management techniques, teach social and communication skills, and provide positive reinforcement.

What Causes Compulsive Spitting?

Compulsive spitting can be caused by various factors such as sensory input, medical conditions like acid reflux or allergies, and emotional expression like frustration or anxiety. It can also be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder or a way for children to express their feelings when they lack language skills.

Strategies for discipline and teaching appropriate behavior can help manage compulsive spitting.

How Do You Discipline A Child For Spitting?

To discipline a child for spitting, follow these steps: 1. Stay calm and composed. 2. Reinforce appropriate behavior with positive rewards. 3. Teach the child appropriate social and communication skills. 4. Address any underlying medical or psychological issues. 5. Consistently set boundaries and enforce consequences when necessary.

Remember, discipline should be firm yet compassionate, focusing on teaching and guiding the child towards better behavior.

Is Spitting A Sensory Behavior?

Spitting can be a sensory behavior for some children, as it provides sensory input that helps them self-regulate. It can also be a way for a child to express frustration, anger, or anxiety. Certain medical conditions or emotional expressions can lead to excessive saliva production and spitting.

Additionally, some children may spit for fun or attention.

Why Does Spitting Occur In Children?

Spitting can occur in children due to various reasons such as sensory input, medical issues, or emotional expression.

Can Medical Conditions Cause Excessive Spitting In Children?

Yes, certain medical conditions like acid reflux or allergies can lead to excessive saliva production and result in spitting.


If you’re wondering why your child is constantly spitting, the reasons can vary. It could be due to sensory input, medical issues like acid reflux or allergies, or emotional expression like frustration or anxiety. Sometimes, children spit out of anger or as a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It could also be because they find it entertaining or stimulating. However, spitting is not cool and can spread germs. It’s important to address this behavior through appropriate discipline, teaching social skills, and positive reinforcement.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …