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Understanding behaviour

As children grow and learn, they depend on you to keep them safe and teach them what is and is not good behaviour.

As your child becomes more independent, they may start to push your boundaries. This can be really challenging as a parent!

It helps to know that this is how children begin to understand the world around them and how their actions affect others. Young children’s brains are still developing and they don’t yet have the ability to control their emotions. Young children need support from an understanding adult to help them make sense of these feelings.

What you can do to help

  • Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to understand why your child may be acting in the way they are. Are they tired? Overwhelmed? Hungry? Bored?
  • Support, listen and comfort your child. Show them that you love them and that their feelings are important to you
  • Be consistent in the boundaries you set. If you react one way one day and differently another day your child will get confused. It is important that everyone in your family deals with your child's behaviour in the same way
  • Try to ignore unwanted behaviour where is it safe to do so. Distract your child into another activity and praise good behaviour
  • Remember that bad behaviour may be a sign that your child is unhappy or scared. You may need to help them to find the words to describe their feelings
  • When your child is calm, talk to them. Explain to them why it’s not OK to bite you or why you want them to hold your hand when crossing the road, for example.
  • Sometimes, the behaviour is because of a concern or worry your child has. Give your child the time to talk about things – driving somewhere together is often a great time to talk.
  • Think about how your child’s behaviour is making you feel. If you are becoming stressed or angry, it can be difficult to respond rationally. Talk to family or friends or a health professional.
  • Never smack your child. This does not work - it can frighten your child and will teach them that smacking is OK. They may then hit other children or adults

Who can help?

If you’re worried about your child’s development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation. **Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays**

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Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services:
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

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