Prevention and intervention for the challenging behaviors of toddlers and preschoolers


An early manifestation of atypical social-emotional development is the occurrence of challenging behaviors. While some challenging behaviors dissipate during and following the early years, others persist and even escalate, marking increasingly problematic developmental trajectories, school failure, and social maladjustment. Increasing attention has begun to focus on the early identification and prevention of challenging behaviors and on strategies for resolving such behaviors at their earliest appearance. In this article, the authors discuss what is known about challenging behaviors in the repertoires of toddlers and preschoolers, and present a model of prevention and intervention. Although research in this area is limited, there are encouraging signs that a coordinated adoption of validated practices could substantially reduce challenging behaviors and thereby enhance the social and emotional well-being of children in today's society.


Infants and Young Children


  • Glen Dunlap
  • Lise Fox
  • D. Powell

Prevention Level

  • Primary


  • Administrators

System Impact

  • Whole School


  • Early Childhood