Preschoolers can be the sweetest kids in the world and they can also be the most rotten -- often within the space of five minutes. While some naughty behavior is common for little kids, if severe behavioral issues appear, you’ll need every ounce of strength and patience to deal with the problems. Some behavioral modification techniques should help you teach limits to an out-of-control youngster. Don’t forget to use other forms of support like your pediatrician, too.
1 Stay on top of your kid’s physical needs to ensure he feels well physically. If your little one already has issues, letting him get too tired or hungry is a recipe for disaster. Get him daily fresh air and exercise, too, so he expends energy.
2 Spend time with your youngster when she’s feeling calm and mellow. This is the time to fill her tank and help her feel a connection with you emotionally. By giving positive attention when she’s not having behavior issues, you reinforce good behavior.
3 Set clear limits and expectations. Enforce your rules every time so your youngster learns and knows what you expect. When you take the guesswork out of how to behave, you make it easier to follow the rules.
4 Keep a predictable routine for a volatile little one. All youngsters thrive on routine, but one with behavioral issues can get a strong sense of security and continuity from routine, states Michelle Graves, author of “Working With a Challenging Child.” You can also use a routine to bring a misbehaving child back into control again by reminding him about something he’s going to get to do soon.
5 Step in quickly if you see her losing her cool. This is essential, especially if your kid has the tendency to lash out and hurt people when she’s mad. Wrap your arms around her in a big hug and physically move her to a place where she won’t hurt anyone else or herself if she’s having a tantrum.
6 Speak calmly and quietly to your little one while you’re hugging him. Your hug should feel calm and strong to him -- like you are comforting, not restraining. Say calming phrases such as “I hear you’re mad.” and “I can’t let you throw things when you get mad.”
7 Get professional help if you can’t control your little one’s outbursts. If you fear for other people’s safety or your child’s safety, talk to your pediatrician about what’s going on. Your child may need evaluation for underlying health issues. If things are going on in your family situation, there may be emotional issues bothering your child, too. Therapists with the specialized training for treating children may be able to get your youngster through this tough time.