How To Manage Kids Behavior Problems At Home
- Anoush Gomes
- 4 Min Read
- Fact Checked
This past two years has seen the world go through a pandemic and while there were dire consequences to that, those that survived have had to face a new reality. Sitting at home might sound relaxing at first, but a lockdown (or in some cases more than one) can affect our mental health. More importantly though, children seem to have a harder time adjusting to just indoor life. From lack of social interaction to less room to vent their energy, they can (especially the young ones) rebel in ways they know how. Read on to learn about how to manage kids behavior problems at home.
It’s important to remember that kids (to at least about 6) are not able to communicate their feelings well. Besides not having the vocabulary for it, they also tend to feel trapped in a huge change and can be confused about the situation. Children are very dependent and sensitive to their surroundings, because they unconsciously learn from it. A sudden change of not being able to go to school, or the park, or even do online school can be jarring to their little selves.
Parent who have to manage kids behavior problems, may have to deal with the different ways kids responds when upset. These can include becoming fussy, rebellious, screaming, unable to concentrate on school and activities at home, becoming quiet etc.
It can be hard as a parent to discipline a child that’s misbehaving or one that is behaving differently from their normal self, but understanding the reason behind their behavior can help you help them cope a bit better.
Expert tips to keep in mind
Don’t treat a child like an adult
As adults we know what’s expected of us in most situations, but children are not able to fully grasp that concept yet. Assuming they know what you want them to do can lead to them getting confused about what they are supposed to do. Talking to a child face-to-face is important, along with telling them what they are supposed to do in a way they understand.
Answer their questions
Children often get frustrated when big changes happen – such as moving homes or schools – because it happens without their knowledge. At times, parents are unable to spend time explaining things to their kids, but doing so could really help them cope with the changes they are facing. Sometimes, children tend to ask difficult questions, but depending on their age, parents can answer in the best way they can. This way they feel heard, and are able to ask you questions and open up to you more often leading to less meltdowns.
Usually, children tend to act out when they want attention, but some can also do so if they are unwell, hurt themselves, are hungry or thirsty etc. When you see a child having a meltdown, it’s important to stay calm so they feel comfortable calming down alongside you. In most cases, when parents are frustrated, children feel cornered and are unable to express why they are angry or sad.
Reinforce positive behaviors
When there is a change of situation or something you find is bothering your child, changing their environment could help. For example, when a child is distracted with their playthings, but needs to focus on work, you can make their study time a bit fun. Adding small things like snacks when they get something right (positive reinforcement) or having play breaks or TV time in between can help them regulate their focus at the task at hand. Rewards work great with kids! The more you reinforce positive behaviors, it reduces the chances of problematic behavior as well.
Listen to their voices
Whether it be schools or homes, kids, as the youngest, often go unheard. Many times, they have simple requests that can be lost in the noise and then they react. Some kids also let their parents know what would actually make them feel better – such as keeping a light on at night or a new toy. There are ways to get them to do things that they need to but by molding it into something kids would enjoy doing. Giving them a choice of showering before or after dinner, could make them feel a bit responsible and less forced to do certain things they are being asked to do.
All children, of all ages, can be different in their upbringing, temperament and personality but usually are pretty easy to talk to if given a chance. Kids are innocent and are under the impression that acting out will get them what they want. Teaching them that a conversation about what they want is possible will take out the anxiety they have should they want something again. Kids communicate a lot more with actions than with words which can be frustrating, but nothing a little connection won’t fix.
Should your child exhibit unusual behavior, it would be best to speak to a pediatrician. Sometimes our efforts to speak to a child can not be enough and professionals will be able to understand them a bit more. Talking to other people in their life such as teachers, siblings, peers or other family members can also help give insight to their behavior. Professionals will also be able to share ways to manage kids behavior problems at home or at school – something that could help parents a great deal. The goal is to find out why they have behavioral concerns, before they can be solved.