Skip to content

How to Look For Patterns in Your Child

By The Understood Team

At a Glance

  • Lots of families have trouble making sense of their child’s behavior.

  • If you look closely over time, you can usually find patterns.

  • Taking notes can help you find these patterns and start to look for solutions.

This article is part of

Take N.O.T.E.

A simple, step-by-step tool to help you figure out if the struggles you’re seeing might be signs of a learning and thinking difference

Do you ever ask yourself, “Why does my child…?” Maybe your child suddenly started acting out, and it feels random. Or maybe certain tasks are really hard for your child, and it might seem like there’s no reason for it.

If you don’t understand why your child acts a certain way, you’re not alone. Lots of families have trouble making sense of what their kids do and say. But kids’ behavior can be a way of expressing something they can’t explain or don’t understand. This is often true of kids who are struggling in some way at school.

Like many families, you may feel like your child’s behavior is hard to predict. But in most cases, if you look closely over time, you can find patterns. Taking a few notes can help you find these patterns and start to look for solutions.

Take notes on certain details.

Jot down a few details to help you look for patterns over time. During calm moments, you can ask your child for feedback on these questions, too.

  • When did the behavior happen? What time was it? Which day of the week?

  • What was your child doing just before things got tense? Playing a video game? Starting math homework?

  • How could you tell your child was getting upset?

  • Who else was around? Did they stay calm or react in unhelpful ways?

  • What helped your child calm down? How long did it take? 

Share your notes.

When you’re looking for patterns in your child’s behavior, it helps to brainstorm with other caring adults.

Sharing your notes with your child’s health care provider, teacher, or trusted friend can help them understand what’s going on. You can bounce what you’re seeing off of them, and get their take. They may even suggest you look for specific things. Or they might have ideas for ways to help.

Say your child gets upset whenever you watch a basketball game together. The teacher may ask you if your child gets upset when you ask what the score is. Or if your child seems restless sitting still for the whole game. What happens just before your child has a tantrum or a meltdown?

When you write down these kinds of details, you’re logging important clues that can help you and others get a better sense of what your child is experiencing.

Use our download to begin keeping track of what’s happening, and then look for patterns.

Key Takeaways

  • Taking notes on details can help you zero in on what’s causing your child to react in certain ways.

  • Sharing notes with other caring adults lets you work together to find patterns.

  • Knowing what’s behind your child’s actions lets you find specific ways to help.

Share

Share How to Look For Patterns in Your Child

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom

Share How to Look For Patterns in Your Child

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom