Early years: Difficulties following and accepting adult direction

Suggested strategies and links.

Strategies and approaches:

  • Look for patterns and triggers to identify what may be causing behaviours e.g. use of language.
  • Be aware that these behaviours may indicate an unmet need for safety.
  • Use positive scripts – positive language to re-direct and reinforce expectations e.g. use of others as role models.
  • Consider calming scripts to de-escalate, including for example, use of sand timers for ‘thinking time’.
  • Provide limited choices to give the child a sense of control whilst following adult led activities.
  • Use meaningful positive feedback to ‘catch them being good’ and reward with whatever the child is personally motivated by, e.g. LEGO, superhero play, jigsaws, technology.
  • Consider creating a visual timetable and using visual cues such as sand timers to support the end of activities and sharing.


Early Years In Mind – Aggression