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No Such Thing as a Bad Kid

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

All behavior has a purpose.

The Stressor

Our spunky, loving, little 3yr old joined her brother in a Kindergarten focused homeschool school setting this school year. Not being in the ‘classroom’ was not an option for driven little girl so of course we lowered the academic work to her skill level. Still, we worried about the stress this would put on her system. So we watched her with love and curiosity.


Soon we noticed she began picking at a dry spot just under her nose. She would pick at this dry spot in quiet times, like during a movie, story time or before falling asleep. After a day or two she also started picking at the spot while being spoken to or being given direction. The picking became so persistent that it didn’t have time to heal.


We wondered why this was happening. What was going on with her? We calculated that the demand of trying to behave like a Kindergartner was causing an increase of stress and that she was releasing that stress in a fine motor, tactile behavior. The picking was a way to feed the need for that outlet. But it was definitely not a healthy one.

What other way could we feed this desire for fine motor and tactile stimulus?

The Solution

Reduce the Demand.

We substituted academic times with time for Leilani to interact with a Tupperware container full of uncooked rice, different sized beads and measuring cups. She was so excited to play with her “sand”. The first day, she must have played with the her new sensory station for hours taking breaks to only snack or use the bathroom. She didn’t want to stop! Her brain hungered for this stimulus!

What We Know

Our behaviors are a result of something much deeper. In this case, our strong-willed little one was in need of more developmentally appropriate play! So we gave it to her. It gave that scab under her nose time to heal. We now offer her this option when we observe her to be a little more “stressed” than normal.

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