Common Behavioural Problems In Pre-Schoolers: What Parents Can Do To Tackle Them?

As our children progress through the preschool milestones, they get a sense of increased independence. Unfortunately, that sense of freedom is accompanied by a slew of seemingly harmful behaviours. Temper tantrums, disobedience, stubbornness, and other such concerns are all too common for parents of preschoolers.

Here, Dr Vrushali Bichkar, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Lullanagar, Pune, shares tips on how to handle preschool behaviour issues.  

Q. What exactly is a “behavioural problem”?

Any aberrant behaviour or response that is not socially acceptable or regarded as typical for a child of a given age is referred to as a behavioural disorder. Children behave in certain ways to fulfil fundamental needs or to avoid imminent displeasure. Stubbornness or being mischievous are common among toddlers, however, it is concerning if this type of conduct is regular or disruptive and interferes with the child’s daily routine at home or school.

Common behavioural concerns seen during the preschool years

Anxiety: Preschoolers frequently dread being alone or being in the dark, which is a typical aspect of their development. If your kid worries excessively or exhibits indications of anxiety, you may help her by acknowledging her fear, gently encouraging her to undertake the things she is afraid of and rewarding her when she succeeds. See your doctor if your kid is suffering from anxiety.

Bullying: Being bullied during the preschool years can affect a child’s confidence and self-esteem. A harassed pre-schooler needs a lot of love and support both at home and at school. He/she needs to be assured that you will take steps to stop future bullying.

Fighting: Children’s disagreements and fights are all too prevalent. Elements that can influence fighting include temperament, environment, age, and abilities.

Habits: Many children have habits, such as chewing their nails or twisting their hair. Your child’s behaviours may upset you, but they are typically nothing to be concerned about. Most habits fade on their own.

Lying: You may have caught your youngster uttering a few white lies. Lying is a normal part of growing up, typically beginning around the age of three. Teach young children the importance of honesty and speaking the truth rather than penalise them for minor infractions.

Shyness: Shyness is common among preschoolers. Be there to support him/her in social situations. For example, during the early days, you can spend some time in preschool. Praise your kid for courageous social behaviour, such as reacting to others, making eye contact, or playing away from you.

Tantrums: Whenever your child suffers tantrums, keep in mind that he is still learning proper methods to express himself. You should witness fewer tantrums once your child is four if you work on minimising his stress, tuning into his feelings, and identifying his tantrum triggers.

How to handle preschool behaviour issues

It is critical that we recognise and address inappropriate behaviours and their causes as soon as possible. Ignoring them encourages these actions to become the child’s default reaction to real events. It is our responsibility as parents to ensure that behavioural issues are addressed as soon as possible so that our children have more pleasant experiences as they grow.

Explain the difference between truth and lies to children using simple examples. You may play a game where you name the colours of the sea or the trees and ask them to determine if the assertion about the colour is true or false. Explain how lying might get them greater difficulty than the issue they are trying to escape. Make it clear that it is OK for them to be honest, even if it has an immediate negative impact. Remember to set a good example by being honest and genuine! It is also vital to remember that the barrier between truth and fiction is frequently blurred for toddlers.

Your child’s conduct reflects his mental condition. Nasty or disruptive conduct does not always imply that they are doing it willingly. It is your responsibility as a parent to determine the core cause of such behaviour and rectify it in its early phases. After all, while your preschooler is struggling with his emotions, he needs you the most.



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