Consistency is key. Let me say that again. CONSISTENCY IS KEY! We can implement research based behavior supports here and there, but if we aren't consistent- do we really expect a miracle?
CONSISTENCY IS KEY! (I'll stop shouting now. I think you get the point.)
Thriving Thursday 1.3 of the Dr. Kim Live Show on ustream now.
This article was originally published on bSci21.org on August 15, 2016, written by Leanne Page, BCBA.
“I’d really like to work with my son on pre-K and kindergarten skills before school starts back up, but whenever I get out the flashcards or workbooks, I cannot get him to sit still at the table with me. Please help!”
While I applaud your aspirations to teach academic skills at home I’m not going to directly answer your request. I’m so helpful. I know.
How about instead of working on ways to get your son to sit and do traditional academic tasks, let’s focus on more creative ways to teach your son these same pre-academic skills.
In ABA, we often use a technique called Natural Environment Training (or NET). This means that we teach using the things in the child’s natural environment- throughout the day- using toys and play as teaching tools. In a rich environment, your child will choose what they want to play with. Follow their lead and use these toys and activities to teach a skill.
By letting your son choose what he wants to play with, you can use his own motivation to drive learning instead of trying to convince him to sit still at the table and do an activity (ahem, workbooks) that is not at all motivating to him.
You may be thinking, “She wants me to just play with my son. How does that teach him these academic skills I’m wanting to work on?”
You can use all kinds of toys and games to teach academic skills, classroom appropriate behaviors, and social skills to get ready for back-to-school time.
Let’s look at some ideas and examples:
The list of examples can go on and on and on. The big picture idea here is to find creative ways in your child’s natural environment to teach the skills you are wanting to work on. Your son isn’t motivated to sit at the table and do flash cards. In the summer. No big surprise there, huh? Use the things that he IS motivated by and practice all those academic and pre-academic and social skills.
Your child wants to play. You want them to practice specific skills before school starts. Marry those two things. Teach through play. Once you get into it, it’ll be more fun for both of you!
Spend some time watching your child play and think about his favorite toys. Be intentional about what you can teach with these toys or activities he’s already in to. Take a little time to make a mental plan and then get in there and play with your child!
Make sure you don’t turn all fun activities into a question and answer period where your son feels like he’s just being drilled. Intersperse those questions, prompts, and teaching opportunities during his natural play. Don’t take over the play and turn it into and un-fun flash card time. Continue to follow his lead, play with him, and throw in those learning opportunities as you go!
When did "Surviving Motherhood" become cool? When did being a frazzled parent become something to brag about?
I'd prefer to THRIVE during this season of life. I want to enjoy having tiny humans and luckily I know that behavior analysis can make that a reality.
Dr. Kim LIVE & I started a new series of short videos to help parents access behavioral tools to make life easier- Thriving Thursdays! Enjoy episode 1 and tune in next Thursday live!
Episode 1.1- Token Economies for parents! (My personal fave)
The Premack Principle is so very easy to implement and can make a big difference for your parenting! First __(do desired behavior)__, then __(get reinforced)__.
Read all about it here & here.
Watch this short video and read the bSci21 article all about behavior specific praise, then put it to use in your own life! It's so quick and easy but can have big effects!
“I’ve told you a hundred times!”
How many times have we heard a parent say this? A hundred? Probably.
My response: “Then stop telling them!”
In order for your child’s behavior to change, you must first change yours. Set your child up for success not by nagging them and telling them what to do hundreds of times.
Arrange consequences for their behaviors.
Consequences do not equal punishment. Consequences equal what follows a behavior.
Set things up so that your child receives positive reinforcement for doing whatever it is you keep telling them to do. Make sure the reinforcer is strong enough to motivate your child to follow through.
Give them the desired reinforcer for doing that thing you keep telling them to do!
“Get dressed. Put your clothes on. Get some clothes out. Where are your clothes? Time to get dressed…..”
How about we use the Premack principle to shorten this.
First get dressed, then you can ___(choose your own breakfast, choose a song to listen to, have some screen time, earn a sticker on your sticker chart, etc.).
First __(desired behavior)__, then ___(reinforcer)___.
If they don’t get dressed, they don’t get the desired reinforcer.
The trick is finding that reinforcer that’s strong enough to increase the behavior of getting dressed on your own.
Quit nagging. Quit repeating yourself. How exhausting that is!
Set up some positive consequences for doing the desired behavior. Follow through.
Spend your breath on some behavior specific praise, instead of telling your kids what to do 100 times!
Find lots more ideas to use positive behavior supports in your own home in Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity!
Check out the first two videos of Season 6 of the Dr. Kim Live show! I'm honored to be the guest host for this season- bringing ABA strategies to parents in bite-sized weekly videos.
As parents, how many times do we hear ourselves saying, "Use your words"? It's universal. We all say. Some more often than others. But go to any park, play area, or Target dollar spot and you will hear it!
We recently had a major success with our toddler using her words. I'm going to share it with you know as well as how it could have gone.
Scene: the end of a super fun day at a family reunion. 3-year-old has been playing in a river or swimming pool for over 6 hours. No naps, no breaks. She has made new friends with second cousins and has had over a dozen grown ups who she only sees occasionally talk to her throughout the day. She has handled all of this like a champ and played her little heart out.
We are saying good-bye. My husband and I are taking our two girls around to hug everyone and say our good-byes. There are probably 25 adults to say good-bye to and a handful of kids.
Kid: I'm a little bit frustrated.
Mom (stops talking to adults and squats down to kid eye level): What are you frustrated about?
Kid: All the people.
Mom: Are you overwhelmed with so many people saying good-bye to you?
Kid (nods yes)
Mom: I need you to say thank you to our hosts, but other than that you can either walk with me and give high fives silently or you can go stand by the door and wave to everyone.
Kid (walks to door, waving emphatically)
My girl did not want to be in that situation. She was trying to escape the demand of saying a TON of good-byes. Would I prefer her to hug all my cousins, aunts, & uncles? Of course. Was it absolutely necessary? No. It was necessary for her to say thank you to the hosts of the day and she did that very nicely after I honored her appropriate request to escape.
But what if I had made her continue with the parting salutations? What if I had carried her around to all those people? What if I hadn't stopped and listened when she used her words? In future situations, she would be less likely to use her words and more likely to use undesirable methods to escape a situation she found uncomfortable. Not to mention the problem behaviors I would have been inviting to the end of our fun reunion day!
The key here is that I reinforced the appropriate response when it occurred in the natural environment.
I followed through when she used her words.
I celebrated the using of words.
And in the future I will reap the benefits of a toddler who always uses her words! Yeah right. I WILL reap the benefits of her using the correct response of using her words more frequently.
*Also to note in this story- I took into consideration all those setting events described above. This kid was EXHAUSTED and pushed beyond her limits. She'd had great behavior all day with no routine, no nap, odd eating habits, you name it. Setting events matter!
Learn how to use positive behavior supports with your child in the book Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom's Sanity!
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA