Behavior checklist for child observing

Written by nicole tibbs
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Behavior checklist for child observing
Behaviour checklists record the existence (or non-existence) of certain behaviours. (Kreuz image by Michael S. Schwarzer from

The use of a checklist provides better insight into why children act the way they do, and helps you record the existence or nonexistence of specific behaviours. Simple to use, such documents typically include lists of different behaviours or skills the observer should note while watching the child. Checklists typically group targeted behaviours together, allowing the observer to easily record the child's actions during everyday activities.


One section of a behaviour checklist, labelled "Social/Emotional," may contain such behaviours exhibited by children as impulsivity, stealing, lying, cheating, short attention-span, defiance, stubbornness, aggression, loyalty, affection, trusting and more. The observer could record data by indicating "yes" or "no" alongside items on the list, or by noting the time of day or context in which the behaviours occur, or via another format specific to the setting.


Actions or skills observed while using a checklist might encompass clumsiness, fine and gross motor difficulties, eye contact, vision, hearing, speech and other physical abilities. The observer can also note handwriting under the "Physical Behaviors" section on a checklist. One child may appear as physically capable as the next child, but if one of these specific areas shows weakness, it could indicate a need for a doctor's opinion or a referral for physical and/or occupational therapy.

Classroom Performance

A knowledgeable administrator, teacher, school psychologist or other trained personnel can identify classroom performance by examining a child's difficulty staying on-task, need for repetition, inconsistent performance, poor organizational skills, lack of concepts such as time or money, poor math calculation, difficulty with problem solving, poor reading comprehension or fluency, and many other traits. A teacher or other person who spends a good deal of time with the child typically can evaluate the existence and extent of such behaviours without much difficulty.

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