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How do I mange my child's behaviour? - Advice for parents

Every child and parent is different. What works for one family may not work for another.

The most important thing to ask when a child is displaying difficult behaviour is "Why are they doing what they are doing?"


There are many reasons why a child may be diplaying difficult behaviour. Some examples are:

  • It is the best way to get what they need.

  • It is how they got what they wanted in the past.

  • The child feels overwhelmed in the situation.

  • The child may have trouble communicating.

  • The child wants some attention from Mum or Dad

  • The child has low coping skills.

  • The child is experiencing anxiety about something.

  • The child needs reassurance about what is going to happen next.


Children use behaviour to get what they want or need.

Sometimes this is a trying thing for parents (e.g. a child will keep asking for a new toy until Mum or Dad gives in and just buys it to get some peace).

Some things to consider to help understand your child's  behaviour a little better:

  • When does the behaviour happen? Is it always at the same time of day? Perhaps your child is tired, or just had enough for the day?

  • Where does the behaviour happen? Is there something about the environment that is contributing to the behaviour?

  • Is your child worried about something? Their behaviour may be a sign of anxiety.

  • What does your child really need? A consistent, predictable routine? A little bit of one-on-one time with Mum or Dad? Just a chance to run around the playground and vent some energy? Sleep?

  • What happened last time your child displayed this behaviour? What were the consequences? Did they get what they wanted? Were they punished?

Some things to parents can do:

  • A consistent, predictable routine helps children feel reassured because they know what is happening next. It also helps parents because children will learn what is required of them more quickly (althought they may need many reminders!).

  • Visual cues make the routine a little more fun for kids. If you want your child to follow the routine, draw each step with your child on a small piece of paper and write what it is under the drawing (e.g. get dressed, shower, clothes in the laundry, brush teeth, etc.).  It might be fun to take photos of your child completing each step in the routine. Put the pictures in order and show your child each picture in order. As she completes each activity, the picture can be put in a box and lots of praise given. As your child gets to know the pictures, she will become more independent in her routine. If siblings use the visual cues, you may find that they race each other to get all their pictures done!

What can you do if you are concerned about your child's behaviour?

We can complete a comprehensive behaviour assessment. This will involve observations and administering a quick standardised assessment, as well as gathering information from parents and school or pre-school teachers.

We will give parents and pre-school teachers practical strategies to manage behaviour and help your child cope better when things don't go as he wishes.

Parent are not alone after the assessment. We are available to follow up and assist with any concerns or needs parents have. We use the internationally-renowned Triple P Parenting Program to support parent in making positive changes to their child's behaviour.

If you are concerned about your child's behaviour and would like to know more about how we can help, please call to book an appointment.

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