Early Experiences Matter

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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Challenging Behaviors

Challenging behavior can mean many things to many people.  ZERO TO THREE has developed a set of resources to help parents and professionals better understand and respond to some of the most common and typical challenges that crop up in children’s early years: Aggression, defiance, inconsolable crying, children who are slow-to-warm-up, and sleep challenges. 

As you explore these resources, keep in mind that no two children are exactly alike. Every child is born with his or her own temperament, a unique way of experiencing and approaching the world. Temperament influences a child’s behavior. 

Because every child is different, it is impossible to offer one strategy or response that will work for everyone. To help you apply the information here to your individual child, think about how your child’s temperament might influence his or her behavior, and how you may adapt the strategies you read about to meet the needs of your child and your family. 

Much of the content on this page was developed through the generous funding and support of the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation

Learn More

Challenging Behaviors Tips and Tools - In this section, you will find downloadable resources and brochures that highlight common challenging behaviors from birth to three and strategies for responding.

Q & A - In this section, you will frequently asked questions about infants, toddlers, and play.



When my 2-year-old gets really angry and has a tantrum, she will bump her head against the wall.
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My three-year-old son has started to play with his penis. How should I handle this?
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Sometimes, when I try to explain to my 35-month-old the reason why we have certain rules she seems to understand and accept it, while other times she has a tantrum. Why is that?
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What should I do when my 2 1/2-year-old won’t share her toys with our 8-month-old?
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1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20037 | Phone: (202) 638-1144 | Fax: (202) 638-0851

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