Parents of toddlers learn early on that it’s important to pick their battles, but knowing which battle to pick can be tricky, especially with the way toddlers sometimes manage to pack a week’s-worth of games and activities into one day. Choosing where to stand firm and where to let things go is something every parent eventually learns through trial and error as they get to know their child better, but there are a few types of behavior that it’s generally a good idea to pay attention to.
Intense, long-lasting mood changes
Sure, most toddlers’ moods change more often than the wind changes direction, but an overall shift in mood, like a usually wild, active toddler turning quiet or withdrawn for weeks or months at a time, could be a sign of a problem. This is especially true if the shift in mood doesn’t match up with normal, developmental changes. Even the happiest and most easy-going babies can turn into tantrum-prone toddlers around a year and a half old, and it’s a perfectly normal, healthy part of development. Everyone has moods that change, but a more serious shift in mood can be a signal that something else might be going on, whether that problem is just stress, or might be something more serious. If you’re concerned about changes in your toddler’s moods, or have noticed particularly intense feelings, or changes in behavior, check in with a pediatrician or family doctor.
Rough play with other children
In a very basic way, it’s your responsibility as a parent or caregiver to keep Baby from harming her friends and playmates. More than that, while rough play is a totally normal part of many toddlers’ development, so is learning to play more gently, and learning to have concern for other children’s feelings. When a toddler plays rough, or pushes or hits other children, it can be an opportunity to teach her better ways to play and relate to other children.
Breath-holding until passing out
If a toddler holds her breath until she passes out, she should be evaluated by a doctor the first time it happens, since it can be easily confused with a seizure. Episodes like this are generally nothing more than a way for a young child to exert her power over a situation, but at least the first time, it’s a good idea to have a pediatrician take a look to make sure there’s nothing else going on. Most children grow out of breath-holding around five years old.
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