If you are constantly wondering if your little one's ups and downs, and backs and forths, are normal or not, you aren't alone. Statistics on child behavior can help you to understand the consensus when it comes to what is, and isn't, on par with other kids that are the same age. While the stats can certainly help you out, don't forget that they aren't the stand alone word when it comes to how your child should act.
1. Authoritative Sources
Moms who are wondering where to find statistics on child behavior are in luck; these facts and figures abound in an overwhelming array of resources. While there is no lack of sources that have stats on early childhood behaviors, keep in mind that not all references are made equal. There's no doubt that you can find a variety of web sources that claim to have statistics on how young children act, but are these all credible? Some online resources do have fairly reliable statistics. These include sources from nationally known, and respected, child development, psychological, government or pediatric authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. The same is true for print sources and books. Look for an authoritative institution -- such as a university, organization or journal for accurate stats.
2. Sources to Avoid
For every reliable, authoritative, credible resource out there, there is an equally unreliable one. Doing a quick web search on your most thought-provoking child behavior subject will pull up some of the credible ones, but will most likely also lead to a variety of not-so-hot sources. Stats that seem more like polls than actual facts and figures don't have an actual research study that backs up the info or are authored by someone with no real child development, educational or medical credentials are red flags. If you stumble upon a site that tells you that 30 percent of all kids under age 5 don't listen to their mothers and the author is Jane Doe -- who did her "research" at her 5-year-old's birthday party -- don't take the stat as fact.
Statistics on child behavior aren't just for parents. Although info on how kids behave, safe and unsafe actions, and emotional well-being can certainly help you to judge if your little one is in need of help, other people aside from you also make use of these facts and figures. Your child's preschool may look to statistics on child behaviors to evaluate how the kids are doing in comparison to national averages or to see if they are using the best, and most appropriate, forms of discipline. Other groups that may use these stats include community child development classes or workshops, pediatricians, child welfare agencies or organizations who are looking to build funding for child behavior programs.
4. Government Statistics
The U.S. government is a virtual treasure trove of stats that moms can look at year after year. An array of agencies create and analyze surveys of large populations of American citizens. This often includes parents and young children. While not every government survey will have a behavioral aspect, there are plenty that do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has collected data on emotional and behavioral difficulties of children starting at age 4 since 1957.