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Analyze This: Your Toddler's Weird Behavior

What's really going on in your toddler's little head when she shoves peas in her ear, guzzles bathwater, or strips naked in the store? We asked experts to interpret little kids' oddest behaviors and give advice on the sanest ways to handle them.
child naked in yard Mystifying Move: Taking off his clothes anytime, anywhere

Expert Analysis: Toddlers love being in their birthday suit, as Jen Fleece knows all too well. "My kids start stripping the minute I pull the car into the driveway," says the mom from Athens, Georgia. "They'll actually leave a trail of clothes from the car to the front door. It's like they're competing to see who can get naked the fastest!"


Little kids will happily bare everything for several reasons. First, understanding a complex concept like modesty is way over your child's head at this point. Plus, toddlers are still learning about the difference between public and private behavior ("If I can take my clothes off at bathtime, why not do it in the middle of the post office too?"). Being able to disrobe is also a source of pride, and he might do it to seize control -- you may have put him in a cute suit, but that doesn't mean he has to stay in it!


Until he can comprehend why life isn't always clothing-optional, set clear guidelines: Tell him that it's okay to be naked when he's at home, but he needs to wear clothes (and keep them on) whenever you go out or have company. Giving him choices when it's time to get dressed ("Do you want your green pants or jeans?") may get him to cooperate, as will letting him know the consequences ("You won't be able to play outside if you don't get dressed").