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When should you call a doctor?

Call your doctor anytime you have a concern about your child's physical or emotional health. Be sure to call if your child:

  • Is not reaching developmental milestones as expected.
  • Is not growing at a steady pace.
  • Has lost skills he or she used to have, such as talking or running.
  • Is violent or abusive.
  • Doesn't seem to be doing well, even though you can't pinpoint what makes you uneasy.

How can you help your child during these years?

It's important to learn about some of the behaviors you can expect during these years of rapid change. Temper tantrums, thumb-sucking, and nightmares are common issues in children this age. Knowing what to expect can help you to be patient and get through the stressful moments.

The best thing you can do for your child is to show your love and affection. But there are also many other ways you can help your preschooler grow and learn.

  • Offer your child healthy foods. Keep lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks in the house.
  • Make time for your child to be active. Limit TV and computer time to 2 hours a day or less.
  • Read and talk to your child. This helps children learn language and opens them up to new ideas.
  • Help your child get enough rest. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children need about 11 to 13 hours of sleep each day.
  • Help your child play with other children. Preschool or play groups can be a great way for children to learn to interact.
  • Teach skills, such as how to get dressed and how to use the toilet.
  • Set limits that help your child feel safe and secure but that also allow your child to explore.

Raising a preschooler can be challenging. What works or is right for a 2-year-old may not be right for a 5-year-old. Taking a parenting class can help you learn how to deal with issues as they arise. To find a class, ask your child's doctor or call a local hospital.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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