Tag Archives: teaching children

Attention: The Good & The Bad

27 Mar

Catching kids being bad is easy!  Catching kids being good is much tougher.

Though catching a child being good is where the money is!

Let’s try  changing our focus knowing that our children are motivated by attention.

Attention functioning as reinforcement can increase desired or “good” behavior if more attention is given for the “good” behaviors and less attention is given for the “bad” behaviors.

Tip:

  1. Pledge to compliment or acknowledge one desired behavior per half hour

DO NOT comment on the less desired/ “bad” behaviors.

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Is Santa Claus A Threat?

8 Mar

“The Easter Bunny is watching,” “I’ll have to tell Santa Claus,” or “When your father comes home…”

Santa Claus

He's always watching...

Do you ever find yourself using these strategy to change your child’s behavior?

Threats RARELY work in modifying a child’s behavior.

THREATS: consequences that rarely manifest. Threats are ineffective in controlling a child’s behavior.

Consequences need to be immediate to be effective
Tip:

Stop

Redirect

Reinforce


  1. Stop the threats and deal with the behavior immediately.  You could do this by firmly re-directing the child to an appropriate behavior – “You may sit over here and look at this book.” or “Go play with your toys in the other room.”
  2. When attention is the child’s motivation, you may have to walk away or remove the child from your presence.
  3. Once the child is engaged in appropriate behavior, take the opportunity to praise and provide attention for good behavior.

Excited? Nervous? Need To Bite Yourself?

3 Mar

Helping the Self Biting Child

Often young children and children with special needs engage in such behaviors.

I have a student who engages in biting himself on the wrist.

False Teeth

Need to bite?

There are a variety of reasons why he engages in this alarming self-injurious behavior.

When attempting to change a behavior it is important to understand what the function or purpose the behavior serves for the child.

To do this: a functional behavior assessment would  help determine the function of the behavior or the purpose the behavior is serving for the child.

This student engaged in this biting behavior for a number of reasons:

– Excitement

– Frustration with instructional demands

– A request denial

– Reinforced by the sensation

For this child, the behavior appears to be rooted in seeking sensory input at the site of the biting.

Now the challenge is to replace the self-biting with a more appropriate alternative behavior.

Here are a few ideas that were effective with this student:

  1. A beaded bracelet was worn and squeezed instead of biting.
  2. Wear sweat bands with rough velcro sewn on the inside.

These items served the same function as the biting.

This solution was more socially appropriate and less harmful than biting.

For another child, the function may be more orally rooted and the replacement behavior would be very different.

Terrible Tantrums Triggered by Talking?!

28 Feb

Do you have a child or a student who has tantrums or meltdowns every time they are told, “NO”?

Temper Tantrum Baby

He was told "No"

As parents and teachers of young children, we often over use this dirty two letter word.

The “No-No Tantrum” is very common.

We have parents that often report that every time they say “No”, their child will: scream, drop to the floor, and bang their head.

Often the word “No” has been paired with being denied something so many times that just hearing this word will produce a tantrum.

When that pattern is seen: “No” indicates to a child that a worsening condition is about to occur. Leading to a TANTRUM.

HOW NOT TO SAY “NO”:


1. Say what you want your child to do

    Instead of telling Johnny, “No, don’t climb on the table!” 

    Present it in the positive, “Johnny, feet on the floor”.

     

2. Combine this with a distraction or redirections

    Remove Johnny from the table in a firm, calm manner. 

    Refocus the child’s attention:”Let’s play blocks” or cars, ball, chase, etc.

    WARNING: Be aware if your child is attempting to gain your attention with this problem behavior.

    – The removal from the table gives attention, which is just what he wants! (Remember the pig from the previous post?)

    You will want to re-direct away from the problem

    Wait a brief period to gain compliance and then engage in attention giving.

     

3. Offer limited choices –

    Don’t just give into your child’s demands. 

    If the child wanted a different cup than what was offered, offer the same item or state that “we can put it away.”

    A tantrum may still occur but this does not mean you handled the situation badly.

    If your child wants more control in choice making, next time offer a choice between cups before the problem behavior occurs.

     

We do not mean to imply that you should never say no.

You must also teach what you expect of your child. Just try not to over use “no.”

Providing kind and firm discipline to teach acceptable behavior is the goal.

We can do this without over using the word “NO”.

There’s No Use Reasoning With a Rock, or a Toddler!

7 Feb

Spend less time talking and more time acting.

Do not try to reason with a toddler. You’re better off reasoning with a rock.

Big Rock

Can you reason with HIS bad behavior?

To young children, words are just sounds coming from your mouth. They have no real substance to them yet.

If your child is behaving badly…

Actions, such by picking him up and carrying him to another location, provide a clear message.

Yelling from the other side of the room means nothing!

Get up off the couch, stop talking, and start doing!

TRY THESE TIPS:

1. Provide lots of supervision, distractions and re-directions – Minimize your words and maximize your actions.
Quietly take your child by the hand and lead him to where he needs to go.
Show him what he can do instead of what he can’t do.

2. Staying engaged the right way – Some actions may only make matters worse:
– slapping his hand, yelling “no-no,” and engaging in a stare down
ALL =
an invitation for a child to keep their entertaining adult engaged with them.

3. Offer choices – Having choices gives children a sense of power: They have the power to choose one possibility or another.

Try a method and let us know the result.

I Argued With A Pig And Won!

5 Feb

Avoid arguments or providing verbal attention such as talking about the behavior during the protest. Only state clear re-directions pertaining to the behavior you want to see. For example: “QUIET”, “Sit down”, “Go to your room”, “Control you body”.

In the words of Dr. Jay Berk, “Arguing with a child motivated by attention is like mud wrestling with a pig – you both get muddy and the pig loves it.”

He LOVES it!