Toddler behaviour as communication

August 31, 2021

Anyone with a preschool aged child in their life knows that being 0-5 is a roller coaster of emotions and behaviours. The CDC (who defines milestones) actually states "displays defiant behaviour" a milestone for 3 year olds.  You actually WANT to see that push back. That fierce desire for independence is part of healthy development. 

All behaviour is communication.

Young children are still working to develop their communication skills so oftentimes they resort to big behaviours to get their point across.  As children begin to develop their executive functioning, self-regulation, and social skills, their big, big behaviors will subside. But they do need to be taught these core social-emotional skills to get them there.

Behaviour is almost always the expression of an underlying cause that meets a goal for the child and often has a pattern to it. The behavior is often the child’s attempt at solving a problem the best way they know how and gets them, whether positive or not, the result they crave. For example, whining may get the caregiver’s attention and yelling ensures they are heard. Often, when caregivers systematically evaluate behavior they will discover a pattern to what causes the behavior and what goal the child is meeting with it. Once you know the cause, goal, and pattern to behavior you will be able to teach your child an alternative method to communicate and advocate for their needs. 

Join Earlybird for playful, engaging activities and strategies to build social-emotional health in children aged 0-5.  We have activities and resources to help your child develop their self-regulation, learn calm down strategies, identify emotions in themselves and others, build self-confidence, practice kindness and work through tough transitions.

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