Just because young children are small doesn’t mean they don’t experience big feelings like anger, frustration, sadness and powerlessness – the problem is that they don’t usually have the means to put their feelings into words, so instead they put their energies into putting their feelings out there. Opposing mum, dad, another child, key person or carer takes up a lot of energy but it does keep them near and generates their concern – even if their response is nothing more than a ‘what did you do that for?’.
Understanding what children are telling us through their behaviour becomes easier when we know a child well and when we are knowledgeable about how young children develop. Unless carers become proficient at ‘mind-reading’, or understanding children’s behaviour, they may not be able to help them experience and express their feelings safely or teach them ways to manage their responses to other people and a range of events. Whilst practitioners are usually aware that children’s behaviour is a form of communication it is still important to call this to mind in supervision,otherwise this important point can be overlooked.