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Why Does My Toddler Hump?

Okay, I see you snickering—another one of ‘those’ issues to discuss regarding your toddler. And again, I am astounded. I am writing about it, there’s a lot of information about it, and it is a cause of concern among parents. Who would have thought we would be discussing the issue of toddler humping.

No, it’s not like slave-trading toddlers. Instead, it’s about the fact some toddlers ‘hump’ everything. Yep, humping. Or the act of a child participating in what has been termed ‘self-soothing behavioral patterns.’

It doesn’t mean you are the parent of a future sex addict. However, it is a topic that turns up rather often in parent-to-parent discussions. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when they have those discussions!

It simply proves a point. Toddlers are cute. Very cute. But sometimes, their behaviors are just as weird as they are cute.

Fasten your seat belt as we answer the question, why does my toddler hump?

It is not uncommon for young children, including toddlers and preschoolers, to engage in behaviors that involve touching or rubbing their genitals. This behavior is often called “humping” or “thrusting.” It is important to remember that this behavior is normal and does not necessarily indicate any underlying problems or issues. It is also important to remember that children at this age may not fully understand the social norms around these behaviors, and it is the parent or caregiver’s role to provide age-appropriate guidance and boundaries.

It is not uncommon for children to engage in self-stimulatory behaviors such as humping or rubbing themselves against objects. This behavior is often referred to as “self-soothing” and is a way for children to regulate their emotions and arousal levels. It is generally not a cause for concern unless it becomes excessive or disruptive to daily life. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, it is always a good idea to consult a pediatrician or a mental health professional for guidance.

Why does my toddler hump her car seat?

In the case of humping a car seat specifically, it could be that the child finds the texture or shape of the seat to be exciting or comforting.

Self Satisfaction

Believe it or not, toddlers build up stress levels like adults. It could be a sudden change in surroundings, like moving to a new city with no familiar faces. It could be the birth of another child. A stressful time all the way around.

And just like adults, they need to find something to relieve the stress. So they may rub or touch themselves, creating a pleasurable stress-relieving mood. Don’t worry; I don’t think they smoke a cigarette afterward.

Rubbing or humping an object, the floor, or their bed/pillow is just one of many. It is very typical for some babies to hump their way into sleep. Other children may need to twist or pull her hair as they fall asleep. They may rock back and forth or even bang their head to relieve their stress.

When toddlers do such, they are merely reacting to the need to feel satisfied. And, of course, as they grow older, they will learn, with your help, all about discretion.

Don’t Be Cross With Them.

Should you catch your sexual deviant in one of these acts, don’t draw excessive attention to it. Sure, you may be startled at their activity or even chuckle a bit. These reactions are to be expected. However, what you don’t want to do is punish them or make them feel ashamed of what they are doing.

Even though they are still very young, please take a moment to explain their behavior is not okay in certain places. Then explain if they want to continue to go to their bedroom. Don’t make them associate what they are doing with shame and guilt. You don’t want to create issues for them when they are older.

Is It Something to Be Concerned About?

The humping behavior is one of many behaviors the toddler may or may not exhibit. However, allf-soothing behaviors are considered a normal part of the child’s learning and development. So, in a nutshell, it’s not a big deal. Make sure they grow out of it before inviting the local minister for dinner!

On the other hand, if the behavior harms the child or others, then perhaps professional advice is needed. Such items would be the pulling of hair or banging their head. If these persist and become a more frequent event, then, by all means, consult their doctor.

On the subject of humping, if these behaviors start causing problems, then they may need attention. Such problems would be when the child is spending lots of time doing their humping. And it interferes with their reactions to other adults and children. In other words, if they are being withdrawn because they are humping something, then yes, investigate further.

It Being Inappropriate

We all know toddlers will bite, pull hair, and sometimes flail around like a limp dishtowel. And for the most part, we expect these behaviors. And to a certain extent, we can be safe assuming the humping is like these other behaviors. They will all eventually subside.

We also know when toddlers interact with one another, they will argue, fight, pull hair, bite, and so on. But should your toddler involve another toddler in his humping expeditions, by all means, please intervene?

The act of the toddler, including a ‘partner,’ is neither cute nor laughable. And should be dealt with accordingly, again by being firm yet gentle. The other child may be frightened to the point of being hysterical. Apologize to the parent and see if they can offer up any advice on the subject.


Even though they are just responding to specific circumstances in their world, there are exceptions. For example, some toddlers may excessively engage in these self-soothing behaviors. And these small percentages could be a reaction to other underlying problems.

Should you be concerned if your toddler is doing these behaviors too much, it could indicate ADHD or Autism. In the most severe cases of these learning disorders, they can be directly associated with self-soothing behaviors. If you are a concerned parent about these behaviors, please consult a professional for a more accurate and proper diagnosis.

Also, remember, parents, none of the information provided here is meant to scare you. It is just information, should your toddler be in the discussed category. The information provided allows you to be a better-informed parent in all of your child-related issues.

You are a great parent; don’t let anyone tell you differently!

How can help?

It is important to remember that toddler humping, also known as self-soothing behavioral patterns, is a normal behavior for young children. However, suppose this behavior is causing concern or discomfort for the parent or child. In that case, can provide resources and guidance on addressing the behavior in a healthy and developmentally appropriate way. Our team of experts can also offer support and strategies for promoting healthy sleep habits and routines for toddlers, which can, support overall well-being and behavior regulation. If you struggle with your toddler’s humping behavior or other sleep concerns, we encourage you to reach out to for personalized guidance and support.


Yes, our little munchkins are strange, indeed. As long as there are toddlers and parents, there will always be theories and reports. Items that dive deep into the understanding of a toddler’s life. Do you think we’ll ever totally understand them? I think not.

And the beauty of the whole situation is effortless. No matter what they do or how they act, be consistent. Consistently give them lots of love and affection.

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