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Behavioral Problems in 3-4-Year-Old Children Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 7th, 2021


Small children may experience rapid mood swings, which make them misbehave and, thus, cause parents significant distress. Parents, in turn, may have difficulties helping their children to deal with their negative emotions. Before parents start taking action, they need to realize why such behaviors happen and what a child wants to say. Hence, this paper is dedicated to the study of several behavioral problems, such as the issue of using the bathroom, the challenge of developing healthy eating habits, and speech problems.

Formation of the Habits of Healthy Eating

In some cases, a child may seem active and look healthy, but feeding him or her is a big challenge. In this scenario, the reason for such behavior might be related to a vast range of factors. For example, it can be linked with the persistence and lack of diplomacy in parents’ approach. As a result, the more a child feels pressured, the harder it is to reach an agreement (Nepper and Chai 158). Other reasons include physiological aspects, such as metabolism, daily ration (the consumed food is sufficient to fulfill energy needs), or the lack of physical activity (“Providing the Foundation for a Lifetime Healthy Habits”).

It can also be related to the feeling of envy if there are other children in the family. In the described situation, misbehavior is explained as an attempt to attract parents’ attention. Food behaviors may also change if a child is worried. For example, a child may experience anxiety expecting some important event, which may disrupt the child’s food behaviors. In most instances, refusing food at such an age is not connected to any diseases or disorders. It is reasonable to visit a doctor, but general practice says that these are temporary hardships.

What to do to make a 3-4-year-old child eat well?

First of all, it is necessary to provide a child with a reasonable amount of independence. The more efforts parents put in trying to feed their child, the higher the probability of failure becomes. Having got this freedom, a child will stop associating an eating process with negative emotions. One should not manipulate a child or try to coerce them by promising something attractive for eating the required portion of food. Most likely, the described practice will not convince a child to eat healthy food (Nepper and Chai 159). On the contrary, it will provide another manipulation idea for a child.

It is also necessary to set a timeframe for food consumption. For example, a parent may face a situation in which a child lingers at the table, trying to avoid eating specific food such as vegetables. In this case, it will be helpful to serve the table and remove the dishes in 30 minutes to set eating patterns for a child. One should not focus on whether a child has eaten or not, yet leave the food on the table if a child asks for it.

Parents should take their child’s preferences into account, which is especially important at the start of setting dietary patterns. Parents should let their children have expectations that they will eat their favorite food. Outdoor physical activities also prompt appetite, which means that children who spend more time playing outdoors have an increased appetite (Carson et al.).

Habits of Bathroom Behavior

For children, bathroom etiquette starts with their toilet training. First of all, it should be of an appropriate size, convenient, easy to wash, and stable (hard to flip). Before you start teaching your child to use a pot, you need to explain to them why this object is needed. In case a child refuses to use a toilet, a parent should explain calmly that by using it, the child will act like an adult. In addition, a parent should give a brief and simple explanation of natural body processes. Conflicts often happen in families where parents have an active position, demanding their children to learn to use the bathroom faster (Gleason et al. 1). It is important not to force children to use a toilet. Most probably, they will start using it as soon as they are ready to do so.

Development of Speech

By the age of three children usually can operate with a number of words and sentences. The development of speech depends on a wide range of peculiarities linked to many factors. Some children can already formulate clear sentences and react even to slight deflections, noticing how people who surround them talk and showing interest to sound analysis. At the same time, other children of the same age only start forming phrases, and their speech is far from being perfect.

At this time, adults have to be attentive to their children, talk to them, answer their questions, helping children to explore new objects and concepts. In families where adults invest time in communication with their children, most of the speech-related imperfections vanish very soon (“Verbal Development” 2). For instance, in the case of children show no interest in observing the world around them, parents may spur the development of children’s vocabulary during daily outdoor activities. Parents need to name objects and explain what they are made of since a daily walk is a perfect time to learn colors, shapes, materials, size, temperature, and other properties of objects. It is advised to be soft, but persistent in correcting wrong phrases.


The successful development of children at the age of 3-4 is very important for the further development of their personality. Families facing the problem of children’s misbehavior must remember to understand the reasons causing it. Following the recommendations of child psychologists on eating, bathroom behavior, and vocabulary building, parents will promote the development of their children.

Works Cited

Carson, Valerie, et al. “ ScieneDirect.com. Web.

Gleason, Mary Margaret, et al. “Addressing Early Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Problems”. Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 136, no. 6, 2016, 1-14.

Nepper, Martha J., and Weiwen Chai. “Parents’ Barriers and Strategies to Promote Healthy Eating Among School-Age Children.” Appetite, vol. 103, no. 1, 2016, pp. 157-164.

“Providing the Foundation for a Lifetime Healthy Habits.” HealthyEating.com, n.d. Web.

“Verbal Development.” ParentingCounts.org, n.d. Web.

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