7 Weird Toddler Behaviors That are Totally Normal

If you’re a mom to a toddler, then you know that at any moment he could behave in a way that leaves you scratching your head at the absurdness. ‘Wow, that’s…weird,’ you’re thinking. Picking his nose, banging his head against a wall or exploring private parts in public, can any mom relate? And as any good parent will tell you, it may sometimes feel like it’s cause for concern. Is this really a part of normal, everyday development or a reason to feel worried? Believe it or not, the following behaviors fall under the category of “odd behavior my toddler does that is ok.” Here are 7 weird toddler behaviors that are totally normal.

He thinks he’s a superhero

If your toddler wears his cape everywhere (even to bed) or refuses to be called something other than his hero, rest assured this pretend play is all normal for toddlers. It’s a way for your child to learn his identity and build confidence. In a way, it’s good for parents to see a healthy confidence building in their child; he can be anything he sets his mind to! Just remember: if he wants to wear the cape to the restaurant, let him. It’s a phase that will usually pass. But if he winds up in theater someday, you’ll have fond memories looking back on where it began.


Expressing feelings through biting

Ouch! The first time your toddler bites can be a painful surprise. And there are two reasons that toddlers bite. First, it’s a way to test their environment with all five senses. They don’t know yet that “tasting other people” is not appropriate. And second, they are upset and lack the verbal skills and self-control to express themselves. Hunger, fatigue and teething can also prompt biting. No matter what, biting is unacceptable. Address the behavior and comfort the toddler. Try to avoid any negative attention that may encourage further biting.  


Head banging like a rock star

Although it looks disturbing, head banging is a repetitive, rhythmic motion that can calm an overstimulated nervous system. It’s a way for a child to self-soothe when he gets tired or overwhelmed. Unless he’s hurting himself or would rather bang his head than eat or play, it’s a behavior that you can ignore. As with most behaviors, if he sees that he gets a reaction from you, he’ll continue doing it when he needs attention.


His hands are down his pants

Self-fondling is another normal behavior because to kids, genitals are as fascinating as ears and noses. Because toddlers don’t yet know the social rules surrounding these types of exploration, use it as a lesson in how different behaviors are appropriate in certain settings. Remind him that he can do it alone in his room but not at school. Never shame or scold your child for this behavior as it can lead to feelings of shame about his body.


Spontaneous stripping

You know the drill, it’s time for bed and rather than get into PJs your toddler just stripped down to his birthday suit and is running around the house in all his nakedness glory. Insert exasperated emoji here. It’s just another explorative way for toddlers to learn how their bodies work. Decide your comfort level and set boundaries with your child while also remembering that the less you make a big deal over it, the more likely your child is to comply.


Boogers and poop are fascinating

And totally gross to parents everywhere. Although this one gets filed under the “so gross I wish they wouldn’t,” playing with boogers and poop is fascinating to a toddler. A nostril is an interesting hole to explore, and poop feels similar to play dough. Remember that toddlers aren’t experienced in life just yet, and they know nothing about bacteria or germs. To them, the disgusting nature of feces is replaced with “what’s this stuff in my diaper, it feels so squishy and fun!” While this part of exploring is still totes normal, it’s something to immediately discourage. Provide lots of messy toys that give your toddler sensory exploration.  


Talking to imaginary friends

Does your toddler have a slew of stuffed animals that he lines up at bedtime and has in-depth conversations with? Imaginary playmates are a completely normal part of your child’s development. A child’s imaginary world provides a sense of comfort and control. The imaginary friend does whatever he wants it to do. And you might see that the imaginary friend accompanies your child wherever he goes. This provides a safety net for new and uncomfortable situations. While a child eventually grows out of the imaginary friend phase, it’s important that you honor his creativity by setting an extra place at the dinner table or kissing the invisible playmate good night.

The important thing to note is that wacky phases are a normal part of a toddler’s development. What other way can he figure out his place in the world? As long as it doesn’t interfere with normal activities, like socializing, eating and sleeping, he’s bound to be just fine. And they make for excellent stories to share with all of your mama friends!

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