KidsMatter has created an easy-to-use tool to help you record what you are seeing and find patterns that will assist you in understanding what’s going on for the child.  It’s called BETLS.

BETLS is an acronym for behaviour, emotions, thoughts, learning and social relationships. The BETLS Observation Chart is a template for gathering and documenting information and observations about a child and the particular concerns. When observing children’s behaviour, it is helpful to include details such as:

  • Pervasiveness (Who is impacted by the behaviour? Where does it happen? When does it happen?)
  • Persistence (How long has it been going on for?)
  • Frequency (How often do you see this behaviour?)
  • Severity (How much does the behaviour impact on the child and others?)

The Staff Self-Reflections section of the template provides a space to reflect on a child’s experiences. It allows educators to note their thoughts about a situation, and any other additional information that could be playing a role in the child’s behaviour.

Download the BETLS chart



All about BETLS and has a case study providing a chance to practice using the chart.

Have the BETLS Chart explained at a glance by reading the Shared Thinking Blog This child might be experiencing mental health difficulties … now what?.

Use a poster to communicate ways to know, recognise and understand what we notice by using a mental health lens.