Health Q&A

By Nora Heston Tarte

Is my Toddler’s Behaviors Normal?

Anita Heart, MD, a family medicine physician with Dignity Health Medical Group – Stockton answers questions about toddler behavior: what’s normal, what’s not, and when to seek help.

Q: Some days my toddler eats a lot, and other days he barely eats anything. Should I be worried that he isn’t getting enough calories some days?

A: “It’s very normal for toddlers to eat a lot one day and less the other day. As long as they are gaining weight appropriately and they are otherwise healthy, there is nothing to worry about.”

Q: My toddler throws a lot of temper tantrums. How many is too many?

A: “Every parent will face temper tantrums at one point or another. It’s common to wonder what is normal and whether your child is throwing too many fits. My rule of thumb is if your child is throwing a tantrum more than five times a day, or has tantrums that result in the destruction of property or physical harm to another child or others, please contact your doctor for a closer look.”

Q: My daughter isn’t very outgoing. She is always attached to me and is too shy to talk to other kids when we are out. I worry she’ll have trouble making friends in school. Is this normal?

A: “Being shy is perfectly normal. Facing a new situation can be daunting even for adults. Once your child is more familiar and comfortable in an environment they will be able to make friends. The key is to set them up for success. Some children take longer to ‘warm up’ to a situation. Don’t rush it and allow the time he or she needs to reach that level of comfort.”

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