A checklist will help you rate your child's behavior.
You're worried because your preschooler's behavior seems out of control. If what you observe is not the routine struggle with occasional tantrums but instead aggression or self-harm, it's time to take a closer look at rating that behavior with a checklist.
1While your child is not in the room, set up a camera. Ensure that the camera battery is charged and insert a memory card with recordable space. Follow the instruction manual steps to affix the camera safely to a tripod if you are using one.
2Set up the recording equipment so that it films the area in which your child will be playing; just be sure the equipment does not interfere with his activities. If you are not using a tripod, try setting the camera on a shelf or tabletop that provides a good vantage point.
3Set up a play area and include stressors that would normally cause your child to react. This trigger could be as simple as the new baby, a pet or even you talking on your cell phone.
4Start the camera and bring your child into the room. Play with him, and allow the video camera to record the problematic behavior.
5Later, play back the video when your child is not with you. This gives you an opportunity to observe your little one's actions and notice details you might otherwise miss.
6Either get a checklist such as the Child Behavior Checklist for ages 2-3 online or make one of your own highlighting specific problems like impatience or biting. Place your checklist on a clipboard, and record what you see on the video as well as what you have seen your child do often.
- Talk to other parents in your child's play group or daycare to find out if they are dealing with similar issues at home — it may be fairly ordinary for that age.Take the checklist results and a list of concerns with you to your child's primary doctor to determine if there's a significant behavior problem.
- An observational checklist is not a substitute for medical care or counseling. Just use the checklist as a tool to record what problems you see. It is not a diagnostic measure when given by a parent in the home setting.
Things You'll Need
- Video camera
- Tripod (optional)
- Memory card