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 children’s behavior, and get counseling if necessary.
» If you observe unusual clinging or fear of being alone, try to use gentle words and reassure children that you will keep them safe. Offer a comfort item like a toy or blanket. If you notice fears of separating, offer the reminder that you always come back. Then let them 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 children are less verbal or exhibiting unusually introverted behavior, try to ask about their feelings and provide an opportunity for discussion and for asking questions. Also, offer other ways for self-expression, such as drawing.
» If you observe more frequent outbursts and tantrums in one of your children, encourage them to use words to describe the feelings, such as angry, sad, scared, or worried. Provide an outlet by allowing some play time 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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