Young children are still learning to express their emotions in productive ways. Big feelings can be overwhelming and may cause little ones to act out or behave aggressively. Children may sometimes express themselves through behavior rather than words. Be aware of changes in your child’s behavior, and get counseling if it’s needed.
» If you observe unusual clinging or fear of being alone, try to use gentle words and reassure him that you will keep him safe. Offer a comfort item like a toy or blanket. If he is fearful of separating, remind him that you always come back and let him know when you will return.
» If you observe trouble sleeping, try to keep a consistent routine to provide comfort. Read a favorite story or sing a favorite song each night. Simple deep breathing or a back rub may also help.
» If you observe your child is less verbal or is exhibiting unusually introverted behavior, try to ask how he is feeling and provide an opportunity for discussion and for him to ask questions. Also, offer other ways for him to express himself, such as drawing.
» If you observe more frequent outbursts and tantrums, encourage her to describe her feelings with words, such as angry, sad, scared, or worried. Provide an outlet by allowing her to play or by going for a walk together. Keeping routines can also help prevent tantrums.
» If you observe a return to wetting the bed, thumb sucking, or baby talk, try to reassure children that everything will be okay. Understand that these are normal behaviors when there are a lot of changes happening in the family.
These changes in behavior could happen during big changes, such as deployments, homecoming, or relocations.
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