They call it the “terrible 2s,” but 3 and 4 aren’t so easy either…
Are you trying to figure out what’s going on with your preschooler and why his behavior is so hard to manage? Identifying your child’s difficulties and intervening early can make a world of difference to a child and his or her frazzled parents. Parents sometimes postpone having their challenging preschool child assessed because they fear that medication will be recommended. In fact, medication is never the first-line treatment for preschoolers. We work with parents of preschoolers to assess a broad range of issues including tantrums, sleep problems, developmental delays, over-sensitivity, problematic social interactions, and behavioral issues in the preschool or child -are setting.
How do I know if my child is going through a “stage” or has a problem that should be addressed?
All preschoolers can be inattentive and overactive, even on the best of days, so it can be difficult to figure out if there is more going on. Children who are impulsive may annoy classmates and teachers because they grab toys, interrupt interactions of others, and dart off toward an item or activity that catches their eye rather than remain in the group activity. These children may have difficulty sitting in circle time to listen to a story; they may hug other children inappropriately or be aggressive towards others; they may have a noticeable difficulty paying attention to and following directions. While these challenging behaviors may be isolated events that have little or no impact on later development, they may, however, be warning signs of later and more significant problems.
How can an evaluation help?
Children’s development usually follows a known and predictable course. Although not all children reach each milestone at the same time, there is an expected age range for achieving these developmental skills. The acquisition of certain abilities is often used to gauge a child’s development in the areas of cognition, language, motor coordination, and adaptive behavior. When it comes to social functioning and behaviors such as appropriate inhibition, activity level, and attention, the expected time frame for reaching these developmental markers can be harder to determine. Further complicating the matter is that children can show strength in one area of development while another area may be slower to emerge. A child’s temperament and personality also needs to be taken into consideration. Having your child evaluated can clarify these issues and identify how to intervene.
How can you help me address the concerns I have about my child?
We believe that parents are the most effective change agents in the life of a young child. We help parents to better understand their child’s challenges and their child’s potential. We train parents in the most effective, research-based approaches to reducing conflicts, calming tantrums, increasing cooperation, and developing self-confidence.
How do I know if my child’s preschool is a good match for her needs?
It is critical to find an environment that is a good fit for your child rather than focusing efforts on making the child conform to the demands of a preschool environment that is a poor match for his needs and temperament. We can help you explore whether your child’s preschool can meet your child’s needs and can do on-site visits and school consultations to help your child’s preschool teacher better understand your child.
Why not just wait and see if my child outgrows the problems she is experiencing now?
Intervening early can provide substantial benefits, positively impacting a child’s self-esteem, competence, and social functioning, preparing a child for elementary school, and most importantly, playing a role in preventing and minimizing challenges down the road.
If you have concerns about your preschooler, we are available for:
• Consultations to assess your preschooler and discuss your concerns
• Parent coaching to help you learn evidence-based techniques to reduce conflicts at home and help your child develop better emotional regulation skills
• Preschool consultations to help to assess the goodness of fit between your child and the preschool he or she is attending
To make an appointment or for questions, call 301-562-8448