Does my 3 year old need counseling?

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How can you tell when the right time and age is to take your toddler for therapy? Does a 3 year old even need counseling? We understand taking your child to see a therapist can be a challenging and emotional process, and it might be hard to figure out when is the right time. 

I would recommend you to ask first yourself before visiting the doctor – does my 3 year old need counseling?

Due to the nature and young age, it can be hard to determine whether their behavior is just part of normal development or a red flag.

However, if your child is showing signs of aggression, and putting a strain on your home life, then understand that you are not alone.

In fact, In a study conducted, behavior problems were present in 14% of a random sample of 705 3 year olds. 

Your toddler is too young to communicate their feelings effectively, which is why it is your job to look for clues, find out if there’s anything wrong, and then provide them with a solution.

This article will assist you in determining if your 3 year old needs counseling. 

First, let discuss what behavioral problems are considered normal, and what kind of attitude requires immediate attention.

Here is a compilation of some of the typical and not so typical toddler behaviour:


Behavioral problems in 3 year olds, what is normal? 

Toddlers often misbehave in their quest to explore the world and understand rules. After all, they are new to the world and still adapting to things they’ve just figured out.

Your toddler might do so many things, like pick up something they shouldn’t or say “no” constantly, which is typical toddler behavior. 

How do you determine what requires immediate attention? We help you out by familiarising you with the typical and not-so-typical behavior. 

Typical behavior of your 3 year old might include the following:

  • Toddlers continue to run, jump or play despite you trying to stop them.
  • They are curious about their surroundings and pick up everything.
  • They want to prove their independence by saying “no” to most things.
  • Toddlers may throw tantrums, bite or even scream when things go downhill. As long as it’s once in a while, it’s normal.
  • They may run away from you or touch off-limit things.

Normal toddler behavior 

The characteristics mentioned above are typical of a toddler emerging out of their shell and exploring the world for what it is.

You can control these signs through calming time, regular bedtime routine, distraction, and appreciation of anything positive they do. 

Abnormal toddler behavior 

Behavior signs

If your 3 year old is showing these signs, then you might want counselling or to see a therapist: 

  • Your toddler might show constant signs of physical aggression (biting, kicking, hitting, screaming), even at minor inconveniences, 
  • They experience regular nightmares, which means there is an underlying issue that you should look into.
  • Your child might experience developmental delays in language, speech, or toilet training. 
  • They worry a lot, are sad quite often, may cry at minor things, or get very upset about being separated from you.
  • Your 3 year old can also show trouble paying attention, is always restless, or suffers from constant physical pains. 
  • It is also a red flag if your child avoids food or suffers from sleep disorders.
Sleeping Bed Give Toddler Save and Comfortable Sleep

The signs mentioned above are testament that your 3 year old is suffering from severe behavioral problems and needs a therapist to help feel normal.

Don’t worry, though; a good therapist and some fun activities can easily aid in solving this problem and getting things back on track. 

Now, Let’s discuss what you can do to help your child navigate their emotion.

What can I do to assist my child? 

If you’ve read this far, chances are you are looking for a solution, and luckily, we have one.

Do you think of a dull white room with your child and an adult facing each other when you think of therapy? If yes, then you’re mistaken.

Treatment for a 3 year old will be different from counseling for activities. In fact, for your child, it will be just playtime. So the best counseling for your little one is Play therapy. 

What is play therapy?

Children express themselves best while playing, which is, what play therapy is based on.

It provides a safe, comfortable environment to children, primarily aged between 3 and 12, where they can easily express themselves. 

Toys Make Toddlers Happy and Busy

There will be a trained therapist accompanying for your 3 year old baby counseling, who will use activities such as dancing, painting, building blocks, LEGO play, board games, and so many more to observe your child help them navigate their emotions. 

Benefits of play therapy:

As a parent, you might wonder, what benefit can my child gain from “just paying?”; however, this therapy is so much more than that. It helps identify what a child is feeling, how they deal with it, and how to improve their situation. 

According to research, Play Therapy is helpful for 3 year old baby counseling because it creates a therapeutic relationship.

It encourages secure attachment allows children to process trauma, build affect-regulation, improve self-concept and regain healthy development.

Here are some benefits of play therapy: 

  • Play therapy gives children a medium to express themselves. For example, if your toddler won’t say what’s wrong, they might draw or paint it.
  • It creates a safe environment for the child, unlike other aggressive sessions.
  • It helps build more vital social skills and family relationships. For example, you can spend some time playing with your child. 
  • Play therapy helps calm your child, build on their empathetic skills and teach them to take responsibility for their actions.

The principal motive of play therapy is to assist the children in finding their core problems and expressing themselves and their emotions through play.

It can be effective in helping children deal with both emotional and mental issues, and there is nothing wrong with taking a shot at it.

Photo by Stephen Andrews on Unsplash

Does my child need a therapy quiz? 

Are you still confused if it’s the right decision to have your child counseled? Take this short quiz to find out. 


  1. Is your child constantly involved in fighting?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Sometime
  2. Does your child act cruelly towards animals?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Sometime
  3. Does your child face problems sleeping?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Sometime
  4. Does your child cry all the time, without any particular reason?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Sometime
  5. Is your child extremely violent?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Sometime


  • If your answer was option (1), you should consult a therapist for your child’s well-being to most of the questions. However, there might be some issues that your child is facing, and counseling will help the little one solve them. 
  • If you selected option (2) for most of the questions, then whatever problem your child is facing might be temporary and typical toddler behavior. Therefore, there is no need to fret as such. 
  • If option number (3) was your popular selection, you should spend more time observing your child. However, do consult a therapist to stay on the safe side. 

Take away:

As much as we depend on our children, they can suffer from deep-rooted issues that need attention, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Toddlers can be fun, but they are at their most delicate development stage and might need assistance beyond the four walls of their homes. 

If you think that your child is facing some of these issues, it is best to take them for counseling. Counseling does not only benefit them; in fact, it also ensures your peace of mind and well-being. 

The world has evolved, and so have the needs of these young kids. Taking notice of their behavior and providing the proper treatment ensures you fulfill our parenting duties effectively.

Remember, no one can force you or your child into this. The choice is always yours.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What age is appropriate for play therapy?

Play therapy is typically suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 12. However, it can also be beneficial for older children and adolescents, depending on their individual needs and circumstances. The appropriateness of play therapy depends on the child’s developmental stage, emotional challenges, and the therapist’s assessment.

What is the most effective therapy for children?

The most effective therapy for children depends on their specific needs and challenges. Play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and family therapy are often used and have been found effective in addressing various childhood issues. The choice of therapy should be based on the child’s unique circumstances and the expertise of the therapist.

Who can I call when my child is out of control?

If your child is out of control and you need assistance, you can call a mental health professional, a child psychologist, or a child psychiatrist. They can provide guidance, support, and therapy to help address and manage your child’s behavior and emotional challenges. In urgent situations, you can also contact local crisis hotlines or emergency services.

Do I need counseling or therapy?

Whether you need counseling or therapy depends on your specific circumstances and the nature of the issues you’re facing. Counseling typically addresses specific life challenges or transitional periods, while therapy is more in-depth and focuses on mental health issues. Consulting with a mental health professional can help determine which option is best for your situation.

What are the disadvantages of therapy?

Disadvantages of therapy can include the cost, time commitment, potential discomfort in discussing personal issues, and the possibility that it may not immediately resolve all concerns. It’s important to find a therapist you’re comfortable with and to set realistic expectations for the process.