Even the best kids misbehave, so it’s important to have strategies in places to deal with challenging behaviour.
At My Cubby House Early Learning we believe that all children are wonderful, even if their behaviour is less than perfect at times. As parents, you may have different ideas about the difference between good and challenging behaviour and what you view as negative may be accepted as perfectly normal behaviour to other families.
The way that parents tackle a child’s behaviour can also be vastly different where some are extremely strict, others may be more relaxed or have more patience in certain situations. There is no perfect black and white way to deal with temper tantrums and meltdowns but if it does become a reoccurring issue then it may be possible that there are behavioural issues that you need to address.
Why is my child misbehaving?
Children can be sensitive to their environment and whatever is happening around them, possibly causing them to act out or behave badly. There are a number of potential causes behind why your child is being difficult.
- Certain changes in a child’s life can cause a major upheaval resulting in behavioural problems. Things such as moving house, introducing a new sibling and even starting new childcare are just some changes that may cause a dramatic change in your child’s behaviour
- It is also possible that the way a particular problem was dealt with in the past, may be causing issues in the present
- Using chocolates or sweets as a way to placate your keep your child quiet may instil in them the belief that these treats will be given each time they go out or if they misbehave
- Tantrums may also be a way of getting attention, whether good or bad
- There may be other reasons for your child acting out such as hunger, tiredness, being over-excited or even simply boredom
10 helpful positive behavioural tips
- It’s true that children often mimic their parent’s behaviour so you will need to set an example by acting the way you want them to behave. Children are always watching and learning for you, so take the time to be a role model and use your behaviour to model theirs.
- Let your children know how their actions make you feel. Engage with them and explain that their behaviour hurts your feelings or makes you sad. Begin your sentences with the word “I” to try to get them to see things from your perspective.
- Be lavish with praise when your child is well behaved. This positive reinforcement can instil in them the understanding that good behaviour makes you proud and is desirable.
- Make eye contact by getting down on their level and communicating with them in a positive manner. This will allow them to be fully focused on exactly what you are saying.
- Say exactly what you mean and do what you have said you will do. Children learn from early on if you do not follow through with your words whether it is good or bad.
- Some sage advice is to learn to pick your battles. Consider the consequences and weight of your response along with what they are asking. Before you simply respond with no, ask yourself if it really matters if they want their cereal out of a cup or if they want to wear socks in the bath.
- Responsibility and the weight of consequences are important for older children. As your child gets older, give them more responsibility and teach them that with responsibility comes consequences. For example, if they were supposed to bring their water bottle home from school but forget, then they will not have one the next day. It is up to them to remember to bring it home.
- Make your point and move on. It is not necessary to keep pushing a point that will only make them feel worse.
- Make your child feel like their voice and opinion matters too. Whether they are young enough to be starting childcare or going into high school, their say should matter as well.
- Making light of a situation can also be helpful. Joke and laugh if it calls for it but be careful not to poke fun at your child. A joke is where two people are laughing.
It is vital for your child to attend an early childhood education service when good behaviour is encouraged from day one. At My Cubby House Early Learning, our carers play an important role in guiding your child’s behaviour in an environment that is positive and supportive. We ensure that rules are kept simple and easy to understand so that they are easy to abide by. For any further advice, please feel free to speak to one of our experienced educators for support and guidance.
A helicopter parent is a disapproving term for parents who believe their child is extremely vulnerable to injury, to teasing, to disease and disappointment that they hover (like a helicopter) over the child, ready to swoop in if when needed or if anything remotely negative happens. They try to oversee ever aspect of their child’s life and pay extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Although the term is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students who do tasks the child is capable of doing alone, helicopter parenting can apply at any age. During toddlerhood, a helicopter parent might constantly watch over the child, always playing with and directing his behaviour, allowing him zero alone time.
Some children bite out of instinct because they don’t yet have self-control. Some of the other reasons why children may bite include:
- Relieving pain from teething
- Exploring cause and effect: what happens when I bite?
- To satisfy oral-motor stimulation
- To imitate other children or adults
- To feel strong and in control
- To get attention
- To act in self-defense
- To communicate needs such as hunger or tiredness
- To communicate difficult feelings such as frustration or anger
If your child does bite, try to pay attention to signals, suggest other ways of expressing emotions. Reinforce positive behaviour and give them opportunities to feel empowered. Avoid negative labels like “biter” and try to avoid anger and raised voices.
There's no known way to entirely prevent separation anxiety disorder. But taking the time to recognise and act on symptoms when they appear can help to minimise the distress and prevent potential problems associated with not going to school. Reinforcing a child's independence and self-esteem through support and approval may help prevent future episodes of anxiety.