Tipsheets for Helping Children with Challenging Behaviours

Children with Challenging Behaviours

At some point, all parents deal with the frustration of having their children present with some challenging behaviours.

Behaviour can be described as challenging when it:

  • interferes with the rights of others
  • causes harm or risk to the child, other children, adults or living things
  • damages the physical environment, equipment or materials
  • interferes with the child’s learning and relationships with others
  • includes a child presenting as shy, withdrawn or excessively passive
  • is inappropriate to the child’s age or developmental stage or background.


Challenging behaviour may include, but is not limited to:

  • hitting, kicking, spitting, punching others
  • tantrums
  • refusal to share, wait, or take turns
  • excluding other children
  • breaking or misusing toys and equipment
  • refusal to co-operate or go along with instructions
  • swearing
  • shouting
  • running away
  • teasing or bullying.

Children’s behaviour, including challenging behaviour, may be an attempt to satisfy a valid need or express a want. Learning to communicate needs and wants in appropriate ways is one of the many challenges children face.

It is important for you, your childcare provider and/or school to have a variety of strategies to use when raising and caring for your child. Every strategy may not work for every child. Also, as your child gets older and changes, you may need to change strategies and approaches.

For more information on some strategies you and school that you may find helpful, read the following resources:

For Parents:

For school:

Parents and childcare:

Parents with children with additional needs: