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About Behaviour for Preschoolers

Information about preschoolers behaviourAt this age children can be very caring, loving and considerate. They are beginning to be aware of the feelings of others. And they are also learning about how their own behaviour affects others.

They can sometimes be quite strong willed, independent and start taking responsibility for their own actions. Some parents may find that children around this age get very angry when they don’t get their own way. They are still learning how to contain their own emotion, and if they get angry and upset that is ok - it is part of their development. What is important is how you as the parent, help them manage their emotions, deal with disappointment and learn to wait. It is important that parents label the emotions, talk to the child about their feeling and help them develop strategies to deal with, and redirect, those emotions. For example, a parent might say: “I can see that you are feeling really angry and frustrated because you want a turn with the toy Johnny is playing with. We will go and ask him if you can have the next turn, sometimes when we are feeling angry and upset we need to spend some time calming down.”

You might also find that your child will not want to be cuddled, let them know that you are around if they do want a cuddle but don’t force the issue.

Your child may hurt another child by hitting or pushing them. When they do these things they are learning cause and effect, social boundaries, consequences and how to regulate their behaviour. Strategies that you can use when these things happen (you need to do this after the incident otherwise the opportunity will be lost):

    • Acknowledge emotion, wait for the child to calm down and then talk.
    • Talk to both parties about the incident.
    • Allow the children to have time to talk about what happened for them.
    • Usually when the children have had a chance to talk they have sorted the situation out for themselves and learnt what to do, and what not to do, next time.
    • Don’t force the issue of saying sorry without meaning

Although you might find many challenges with children at this age it is a joy to see how they are learning to relate and developing negotiation skills.

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