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Child behaviour is a main concern for parents of 3-year-olds.

Acta Paediatrica 2024 April 17
AIM: The aim of this study was to describe parental concerns about child health and behaviour and their sociodemographic predictors in 3-year-olds, in relation to the national guidelines of well-baby clinics.

METHODS: The study included parents of 33 526 children in Stockholm who had completed a questionnaire prior to a routine visit to a well-baby clinic at age 3 years. Multivariate regression was used to analyse predictors for concerns.

RESULTS: Child behaviour problems, defined as defiance and problem with adherence to daily routines, were the most common parental concerns (36.4%), with poor social skills and relations being second (21.8%). Regarding development, 9.6% had concerns about speech and 4.7% about motor development. Screen use (9.5%) and being underweight (6.3%) were other common parental concerns, while lifestyle concerns regarding physical activity and overweight were rare. Parents raised about twice as many concerns for first-born children compared with younger siblings. Child behaviour and developmental concerns were more frequent in families where the mother had primary education only and attended a well-baby clinic with a high Care Need Index.

CONCLUSION: Parents' concerns reflected the national guidelines about child development and behaviour, but not its emphasis on a healthy lifestyle.

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