Parenting Young Children: Managing Bedtime Battles, Aggression, and Body Exploration

Parenthood brings immense love and joy, but it also brings inevitable challenges, especially when raising young children.

A study conducted by The Goddard School reveals that 83% of parents with children aged 6 and under have concerns about their children’s behaviour, with sleeping habits and aggression being the most common worries.

Sleep is a significant area of concern, and it’s not just during the first 12 months. Establishing sleep routines for preschoolers can also prove challenging. Toddlers and 2-year-olds might struggle with the newfound freedom of toddler beds, while older preschoolers may face difficulties due to their vivid imaginations, leading to scary thoughts, bad dreams, or fear of being alone. Consistent and predictable sleep routines are crucial for young children, and parents should avoid inadvertently reinforcing sleep disruptions with extra attention when their little ones sneak out of bed or seek comfort in their parents’ bed.

Aggressive behaviour is a common occurrence among toddlers and preschoolers, manifesting in sudden shoves, kicks, or grabbing items. As children mature and develop better self-control, these behaviours can be redirected and eventually outgrown. Aggression in toddlers and 2-year-olds often stems from communication frustrations or their desire for independence. Three- and 4-year-olds might display aggressive behaviour to exert control over their environment or as a result of imitating behaviour they’ve witnessed elsewhere. Understanding the root cause of aggression can help parents respond appropriately.

Body exploration and self-stimulation are natural behaviours often seen in older preschool-aged children. Curiosity drives body exploration, making it a common occurrence during naptime, bath time, or bedtime. While this behaviour is usually comforting and harmless, some children may attempt to explore the genitals of others. In such cases, it is essential for parents to address the importance of privacy, boundaries, consent, and respect for others in age-appropriate ways.

For valuable parenting insights, guidance, and resources on handling challenges related to sleep, aggression, and body exploration, parents can access a wealth of information, including a webinar with Dr. Lauren Starnes and Dr. Jack Maypole, available at

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