How can I help my child when they are struggling?

I often get asked for advice about the children of people I know. Maybe because I’m a teacher and a mum, people feel that I have more experience than they do. People often just want to know if their child is “normal”. People just want to see if what they are experiencing is explainable or ordinary. It’s so tricky being a parent isn’t it? We often are experiencing something with our children for the first time. Looking up things on the internet can often label it to be “a thing” and that is terrifying. Some parents want their child to be gifted or talented but the majority just want their children to be a typical child for their age. Unfortunately, some just aren’t but that’s ok too.
I suppose working with children, I have seen hundreds of children between the ages of 2 and 8 years old so I don’t bat an eyelid if they bite, punch, kick, eat crayons, twirl or smear poo. It’s kinda within the everyday, typical stuff that I deal with! But the ordinary things can be a worry and on occasion, can develop into behaviours that are not within the typical range.
But how do we know when to worry?

My advice is always the same:

  • Every child has quirks, just some more than others. Accept them for who they are unless their quirks are affecting others or their own happiness/development.
  • Children display different behaviours and emotions sometimes, just like adults. It may be a phase. Displays of emotion such as anger, is normal behaviour. Unfortunately some children are just more emotional than others and may need more of a structure to help them deal with them.
  • Children learn and change at different rates. Try not to compare them to others.
  • Don’t always listen to the well-meaning advice of the older generation.
  • Listen to the professionals such as your child’s teachers and really hear what they are saying. It may be that you are not ready to listen, but you should.
  • Pre-schoolers (3-4 years old) should want to be sociable and should want to show you what interests them and engage with others.
  • Pre-schoolers should play with toys in an imaginative way. E.g babies are fed, passengers can get onto trains.
  • All children should want to communicate with you from a very early age.
  • Your child should make progress in each school year but sometimes it may be more rapid than at other times. Learning does not happen at a continuous and at the same rate so don’t worry if your child makes rapid progress in Reception but this progress slows in year one.
  • If you are still worried, go and see your GP, Health visitor or child’s teacher. They really won’t mind.
  • If your child has been given a diagnosis of something scary, they are still the same child you love. Try to remember this.
  • If your child has a barrier to learning such as autism, do your research on how to help them and fight for them. No one else will.

Have a great day and keep your child close. x


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This Mum's Life
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  • Great post – it’s really hard to know what is “normal”, and I think we spend a lot of time comparing our children to others, when in reality, we have to remember that each is their own person. #DreamTeam

  • These are such practical tips and they absolutely make sense. It’s so easy to spend half of our days googling what is and isn’t right, and I’m starting to learn that no good can come from either googling or comparing. We all have our strengths and areas that we struggle with, and why should our little people be any different. We love them for who they are. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam x

  • I love this post, it’s sometimes so hard not to compare yourself and stop the worry. Such a good reminder that all kids develop in their own time. Congrats on being my #dreamteam featured blogger of the week! x

  • Thank you for writing this, I often wonder how my daughter is doing. Is she ‘normal’ etc. Your advice is spot on. They are individuals who develop at varying times. I can imagine you get asked for advice all the time x

  • This is great advice. I often wonder how well my two are doing and I found this advice very grounding! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  • This is sound advice, sometimes it is hard as you want to help them but being there to listen and accept them for who they are can also work to support them just as good X #blogstravaganza

  • I’m not a mom but I worked in daycare, mostly children aged birth to 2, for over a decade. My friends always ask me for advice and it feels great to be able to help calm their worries. #bigpinklink

    • Yes! I expect you have cared for hundreds of little ones and I bet they were all different! Thank you for commenting Heather. X

  • Oh what a wonderfully helpful post. As a teacher, you must see so many parents worry and such an array of children so this will be a real help of a post to many I am sure. I love this line “If your child has been given a diagnosis of something scary, they are still the same child you love. Try to remember this.” So true and so important to remember #BigPinkLink

    • Yes. I think it’s tempting to grieve for the child you thought you were going to have but forget that they are still the little one that you love. Thank you for commenting Helen. Xx

  • This is such a lovely supportive post. I suppose as a teacher you have seen many different children come through your class and helped them and their parents through diagnosis and seen all the negative and positives. Great advice. Thanks for linking up with us this week. #bigpinklink

  • Such great advice. My youngest son is 2 and has Down syndrome, I have to be relaxed about his progress else I will drive myself crazy! Having a child with such a strong delay though has actually helped me relax with my first born to and parenting is way more enjoyable since x #spectrumsunday

  • Our little one struggles in social situations with children her own age at times, because she’s often socialised with adults. We’ve always tried to encourage her to talk and play with children her age, but she generally prefers adults. This is great advice and I’ll be sure to use some x #TheSatSesh

  • This is a really important post, it can be so difficult not to compare children to others, but such a bad idea to do this in pursuit of ‘normal’ as you said. They’re all so diverse and unique! #thesatsesh

  • We are experiencing an undercurrent of anger/emotion from our little and we are worried. And at times, we are startled at her behavior of late. It may be getting back into the routine of school, being older (just turned 7), in a grade with a number (first), or just not enough sleep. We will get to the bottom of this, and love her every step of the way. xoxo #thesatsesh

    • Of course. She is still the little girl that melts your heart and curls up for a cuddle. My son was very angry at this age but we found out later that his teacher was being frankly, a bully to him. He is a very calm teenager which was a surprise!! xx

  • Love the balance of advice and reassurance here – you write in such a measured tone that I immediately feel calmer about things having read the post. Our eldest is getting very angry at the moment LOTS so I did need to read your points that this can happen…. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. #thesatsesh

    • Ahh thanks Hayley. I am generally a calm person and am definitely calmer now Im a little older! Anger is ok as long as the reason is there in plain sight…that’s the way I look at it. I also think more anger than usual is a stage…usually comes with frustration at not being able to do what they perceive that they should be able to do. Good luck. Do ping me a private message should you wish. x

      • Thank you so much for this – I may well do that sometime! I do think you’re right about the frustration thing – I think this is a big thing with our boy. Thanks again xx

  • Every child is unique; we should never compare them with other children. But as a responsible parent, we should start monitoring the developmental milestone of our children to give them a healthy life.

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