Behaviour in Children – Why is it Happening?

Currently, I have a toddler (two and a half going on fifteen!) I must admit, it is slightly different dealing with behaviours in your own children. I mean, the logistics are the same, but its rather tiring having to be on top of things 100% of the time (and impossible!) It is much easier to swoop in as a Therapist, for a one hour session and give parents rules of what needs to be done.

One thing I find helpful is something that I stumbled upon a while back while preparing for a  workshop on Challenging Behaviours in children, and I try to remember to apply this with my little girl when trying to figure out why she is behaving like a troll (besides the fact that she is only two!)

S – Sensory – My little girl is a hurricane. She. Never. Stops! And often, she will act up when she has not been active enough (cue rainy day inside) or has not had enough sensory input. Some ideas for this kind of input:


  • Spinning in circles.
  • Using a Merry-Go-Round.
  • Rolling down a hill.
  • Spinning on a swing.
  • Going upside down.
  • Climbing trees.
  • Rocking.
  • Jumping rope.
  • Summersaults or cartwheels.
  • Using monkey bars.
  • Skating.
  • Going backwards.
  • Swimming.
  • Dancing.
  • Wheel-barrel walks.


  • Carrying or lifting boxes.
  • Pushing or pulling a wagon.
  • Build a fort.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Shovel snow.
  • Pick up and put down heavy sticks.
  • Dig in the dirt.
  • Carry buckets of sand or water.
  • Give hugs.
  • Knead playdoh
  • Jump on a trampoline.
  • Chewing on something
  • Squeezing a stress ball
  • Playing Tug-O-War with a stretchy band

E – Escape – Children act up when they want to escape something that they do not enjoy (cue running around the house naked / hiding when it is time to bath).

A – Attention – MASSIVE ONE in our house! When children want attention or get attention for misbehaving (even negative attention is great) the behaviour will often continue. My little one went through a good week or two of hitting. She would hit or kick, Mom and Dad would stop what they were doing, reprimand, time-out was sometimes used etc. etc. etc. Eventually, after trying many consequences, we started ignoring the behaviour and voila, it stopped. Make sure you are giving your child enough quality attention during play and while they are behaving, appropriately and they won’t need to use tactics to gain it otherwise.

T- Tangible – When children want something, they may misbehave to get it (toddlers grabbing toys from one another etc.) This is a great opportunity to intervene and model appropriate ways to access things.

This is obviously not the be-all and end-all of cracking behaviours , but it can be really helpful when trying to figure out what has caused the acting out.

Tyla x

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