Behavioural responses of hospitalized young children in acute pain were examined and described Eleven children, aged 24-79 months, who experienced acute pain in response to surgical intervention, and their parents, participated in the study A qualitative, naturalistic methodology was used Participant observation and child and parent interviews were the primary data collection methods The constant comparative method of data analysis was employed to identify beginning behavioural response categories Findings revealed that the children used the process of‘getting better’in response to pain This process involved three strategies‘hiding away’,‘fighting it’and‘making it good‘ Each of these strategies was characterized by specific behaviours The more pain the children experienced, the more frequently these strategies were employed Recommendations specific to assessing behavioural responses in young children experiencing acute pain are offered