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Pediatrics/Toddler social behavior


QUESTION: My son is 5 yrs old. He started speaking quite late as compared to other kids of his age. Now he talks to me throughout the day, whatever he wants to speak of. But if i ask him what he did in school or what are you doing now, he doesn't take interest in answering them. After asking him strongly he answers.
When it comes to communicating with others, be in school, day-care or with neighbours, he will not answer if anyone asks his name (although he knows the answer). He doesn't feel the necessity of replying when anyone asks him a question. Even after my prompting also, he wont reply. While playing with other kids also he will not bother to talk to them or communicate in any way. He will just make himself comfortable playing with their toys. He enjoys and his happy that way.
But this way he is lacking a lot in his social behavior. Although all kids love to be with him and play with him. Its not that my son doesn't like kid's company, but in his own way.
Kindly help me how to make him socialize.

ANSWER: Hi Papiya,

First and foremost, we as parents must understand and accept uniqueness of each child: Every child is different and it's OK to be different from others. We all like our children to be the way WE WANT them to be...but they would ultimately become they are destined to be. This should be very clear.

We need to guide our children with above perspective. The key phrase here is "guide our children" (and not "direct our children")

To help your child socialize more, you just need to let him be in company of other kids in his age group. That's all.

It is common and normal for children of this age not to answer your questions about their day in school. Never mind; try to ask him the same questions in a more playful manner (without them appearing like a "set questionnaire". Please don't coax too much.

Having said that, you may have to discuss this further with your pediatrician IF your son's teachers in school report CONSISTENTLY adversely  about your son's behaviour in school...which I guess is not very likely in your son's case...

Best wishes,
Dr. Puneet Kumar,
Kumar Child Clinic, Dwarka,
New Delhi, India


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the valuable suggestion. I will try to improve from my side, no doubt i do coax a lot.
Well, his teachers do tell us about his social behavior, but not adversely. His attitude attracts all kids towards him, but he doesn't initiate communication verbally. He will eat snacks from others tiffin boxes etc. but without talking. When i meet his classmates, they ask me aunty why doesn't he talk to us?
Otherwise acedemically, his teachers are giving good feedback. He answers questions asked on black board or note book, writes well. Yes but he doesn't prefer to recite poems or story in class ( although he listens & learns them & recites them at home even when i don't ask him to ).

Hi Papiya,

If such behaviour is really consistent (i.e., the behavior of not communicating verbally much in different "settings": home, school, neighbourhood) AND doesn't seem to improve, it would  be worthwhile to consult a child psychologist once. However, please note that there is NOTHING TO PANIC.

Best wishes,
Dr. Puneet Kumar,
Kumar Child Clinic, Dwarka,
New Delhi, India



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Dr. Puneet Kumar


I would be happy to answer general queries on prevention and treatment of ailments in newborn, infant, toddler, child or an adolescent. Needless to say, it will not be possible to answer any query that requires diagnosing, since it is not possible to examine a child online.


I have worked in various capacities (medical officer, resident, senior resident, consultant) in public as well as private sector in Pediatrics and Neonatology. Today, I have over 17 years of experience in the field.

Currently, I am running my own clinic (Kumar Child Clinic) in Dwarka, New Delhi and am attached to Lifeline Hospital, Dwarka as consultant pediatrics and neonatology. I am also developing my clinic website into a comprehensive child health/ parenting website (

(a) Chapter "National Immunization Schedule" in Frontiers of Social Pediatrics, Jaypee Publishers: 2nd edition, 2016. (b) Article, "All about Pertussis vaccines" in special issue of Indian Journal of Practical Pediatrics, July-Sept 2015 (c) Three chapters (DTP vaccines, Pneumococcal vaccines and Poliovirus vaccines) in "Textbook of Pediatrics for Post-graduates" First edition: 2015. (c) Chapter: "Alternative delivery methods of vaccines" in IAP textbook of Vaccines, First edition, 2014 (published by IAP/ Jaypee Brothers) (d) Special Article: "50 years of Immunization in India: Progress and Future" in January 2013 issue of Indian Pediatrics (e) Four chapters in "FAQ: Book on Vaccines and Immunization Practices" First edition, 2011 AND 2nd edition, 2015 published by Jaypee Brothers. (f) Three articles in special issue of Journal of Pediatric Sciences on “Controversies and Challenges in Pediatric Vaccination Today" in Sept, 2010. Co-edited the series also. (f) Regular column, “How do I treat” in Pediascene ( (g) Review article, “Role of Anti-Poliovirus Agents in Polio eradication and beyond” in Polio Pulse, April, 2008. (h) Chapter on “Acute Infectious Diarrhea” in Textbook of Infectious Diseases in Children. (An IAP Publication), 2007. 2nd edition in 2011. (i) Book-Review (IAP Pediatric Drug Formulary, 2004) in Pediascene, March 2005 ( ) (j) Case-report on Osteopetrosis. Jharkhand Journal of Pediatrics, Dec-2002.

After MBBS, I have done DNB residency in Pediatrics.

Awards and Honors
Winner of IAP practising pediatrician's quiz in 2001.

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