As your little ones progress through childhood, you will most likely notice some more challenging behaviours of concern arise within your day! This is generally attributed to your little one testing boundaries and/or learning where their independence sits within the world; which often looks like they are ‘acting out’ or ‘not listening’. 

Most children will start to show some of these more challenging behaviours from roughly two to three years of age, which is considered developmentally appropriate. It is hard as a carer to know what the ‘right’ expectations of behaviour are, or the ‘right’ way to respond! 

As you start to see these ‘meltdowns’ or ‘tantrums’ it is important to come from a place of empathy! You don't have to like the behaviour you see, however, it is essential to understand that this behaviour is a way of communicating that they require some help. 💗

When looking at behaviours, we tend to initially look at this coming from a place of communication frustration, or, sometimes, feelings of some ‘big emotions’ and then feel overwhelmed. We know as carers, we can feel some pretty big emotions, like anger, frustration, anxiety, nervousness, guilt - to name a few, and we have had several years to learn how to express and manage these, and still, as adults, we struggle. This is why it is really important to come from a place of empathy. 

Throughout this period of toddlerhood it is really important to try our best to not ‘punish’ our little ones, rather, get down on their level, sit with them quietly, patiently, trying to understand what they are going through, and role model how to get through that behavioural escalation. This can often be referred to as ‘emotional coaching’ and there isn’t a rule book about how we do that, rather just being empathetic and showing them that ‘mummy/daddy/aunty/grandma/or other’ are there to help them. 

Once your little one has the ability to communicate their needs and emotions, then this is the time to start exploring the implementation of ‘rules’, ‘consequences’ and/or ‘boundaries’ but first as parents our role is to help them understand their emotions, be able to self regulate and move through that situation before focusing on ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ behaviours as sometimes they simply can’t help it. 

It is essential to ask for help if you need more support to ensure we are looking after our little one’s emotional wellbeing, but also our own as carers, as being a mumma, dad and/or carer is the the most rewarding thing in the world, but also the hardest thing in the world!

March 28, 2022 — Light Coordination Therapy Services Admin