Between the ages of 4 and 8 years your child may behave differently. This is because their brain is growing and developing. At this stage you will also notice physical changes. You may have difficulty understanding what’s happening or managing some of these new behaviours.  

There are a number of strategies that you can use that will help you achieve a calmer, more content household with happier children and parents. Every household will have different priorities depending on your family values and external influences affecting your life at the time. Helping children to understand why we need to behave in certain ways can be useful.  

Most parents are keen that their children learn what is acceptable social behaviour. It is helpful if parents develop an understanding of what is realistic in terms of physical and emotional development. Child Development 5-6 Years and Child Development 6-8 Years 

Consistency is the key to successfully guiding your child’s behavior. At this challenging time, try not to let your own emotions or feelings get in the way. 

Acknowledging your child’s good behaviour is a powerful and effective tool. Make sure to notice all the positive behaviours, commenting on them and praising them as often as you can. By acknowledging a child’s good behaviour, parents will find themselves rewarded by  having a happy child and acceptable behaviour.  

It is important to create a safe, interesting and stimulating environment for our childrens’ developing brains and active bodies. Often undesirable behaviour will occur when children either become bored of their current environment or unstimulated. There are many activities and experiences that we can provide for our children which are free.  

These include: 

  • getting out in nature,  
  • playing in parks,  
  • visiting friends,  
  • swimming,  
  • attending playgroups, or  
  • going to age appropriate community events.  

Parents don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive toys and structured activities. 

Avoid reacting to negative behaviour. Sometimes what we see may be a child not knowing how to express themselves. Try to focus in on the feelings that may be underlying the behaviour. Are they confused, tired, worried or angry. Asking and talking about these feelings may be more effective in helping your child change the way they are behaving.  

Want to know more? 

Kidsmatter – Managing Behaviour 

Kidsmatter – Managing Behaviour Further Resources 

Kidsmatter – School Refusal 

Raising Children Network – School Age Behaviour