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How to Observe and Record a Child's Behavior

author image Wallis Bishop
Wallis Bishop began writing in 2002. She specializes in issues related to child health, development and parenting. She spent five years teaching toddler and preschool age children and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a specialization in infant and toddler mental health.
How to Observe and Record a Child's Behavior
Parents observe their child as they sit on a picnic blanket in a park. Photo Credit: Top Photo Corporation/Top Photo Group/Getty Images

There are many reasons why a parent would want a record of their child's behavior. Usually, the best way to diagnose a developmental or behavioral problem is by consistent observation over several weeks or even months. By observing your child over a lengthy period of time, it becomes easier to identify patterns of behavior, and therefore discern potential triggers for problem behaviors. If there is a concern about a developmental delay, close observation can aid parents and teachers make individualized plans to help the child.

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Step 1

Choose where you will record your observations. A notebook or binder are best, as they are portable and can be brought where ever the observation is taking place.

Step 2

Set up a schedule of observation times. Decide how often and at what times you want to observe your child. It is best to observe different times during the day, as different activities result in different behaviors.

Step 3

Record the time and date at the beginning of every entry.

Step 4

Objectively observe and record your child's behavior. Try not to guess what your child is feeling or his motivation for any behavior. Record detailed and descriptive actions and statements only, suggests Modesto Junior College.

Step 5

Spend several weeks observing and recording, and then look through your observations by yourself or with the help of a professional to note any patterns.

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