Do holidays stress you out? Is Thanksgiving a prime time for problem behavior?
Here's an idea: Let's try to prevent problem behavior in our children! You are welcome to try these things on the grown-up family members in your life, too, but the focus here is kiddos. Good luck with the rest of the fam!
How about using a social story to prepare for Thanksgiving? I told you a lot about social stories here. I even shared a personal example of success with a social story here and here.
Now- how about I provide you with a few free Thanksgiving specific social stories? Okay! (Note: I did not write these. No need to reinvent the wheel unless you have a specific Thanksgiving scenario you want to prepare your child for. Then go ahead and re-invent and make a personalized story for your kid.)
This one from Autism Speaks is pretty generic, but recommends your child seek out a quiet place if they need to during the holiday mayhem, I mean fun family time.
And here is another social story with some fill in the blank pages to help you personalize without having to rewrite the whole story.
This free social story is filled with visuals. I find the pictures a little overwhelming, but then again, I know how to read words. A little one might like to 'read' the pictures!
This link contains files you can download beyond just social stories. It also has schedules and other visual supports.
A lot of these resources are specifically created for children with autism spectrum disorders. But here's the secret. They are research-based and can work with ALL children. Trust me, I've seen it work in my very own household!
The secret to a peaceful Thanksgiving: positive behavior supports like social stories. Give 'em a shot!
Learn about other strategies on this site and in my book, Parenting with Science!
As I've said before- positive reinforcement is a specific strategy- not just randomly giving out 'rewards'.
By definition, positive reinforcement occurs when something is presented immediately following a behavior and as a result, that behavior occurs more often in the future.
Behavior-->Something is added-->behavior occurs more often in the future
There are two key points here:
Read all about the specifics of positive reinforcement here.
Lately, we've been using positive reinforcers to get through dinner time. For some reason our toddler doesn't love to try new foods. Crazy, right? Toddlers typically eat vegetables so peacefully, right?
Here are some reinforcers we've used to survive dinner time lately. Seriously. We've used these and they've been effective.
What crazy, I mean practical, reinforcers have you found to be effective lately?
Are you a pro at using positive reinforcement effectively? High 4 for you!
Need more ideas for using behavior analysis in your mommy role? Check out my book.Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom's Sanity.
5. It's a quick read! At only 68 pages, even the busiest of moms can find time to eek out a chapter here and there!
4. It's not boring. At least not too boring. I'm told it's humorous and even heard my husband laugh out loud while proofreading it.
3. It gives step-by-step instructions for all behavior strategies presented. Literally. A table at the end of each chapter with numbered steps. Does it get any easier than that?
2. It reminds Mom that you are in control. Seriously. You are in control. Don't believe any tiny tyrants who say otherwise!
1. The struggle is real. Parenting is tough. Toddlers are tough. Big kids are tough. We need all the tools possible to win at parenting!
Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom's Sanity available exclusively on amazon.
About a month ago, I shared with you about a strategy often used in the autism spectrum/ special ed worlds: social stories. I wanted to try using a social story on my own toddler to see if that would improve things when I dropped her off for child care. I even shared my exact story that I wrote.
We've been reading that homemade book daily, usually at her request. She can even fill in the blank when I pause sporadically throughout the story. If I could understand all her babbling words, she could probably recite the story to me.
So is all this helping? I think so! As a BCBA, I'm sad to report that I don't have any actual data since I'd have to ask child care workers to time her fussing or something. BUT anecdotally I can say that things have improved!
My daughter and I go to the gym 3 times a week. The first few weeks that we started going, I was paged to return to the child care center every single time we went. Every. Single. Time! The last 3 times- no page!! Last time we went, my girl even ran around playing with toys instead of running to me when I came to pick her up!
So- my social story strategy seems to be working! ABA peeps- I apologize for anecdotal data. Moms- try it! It's working!
Want more strategies? Check out Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom's Sanity!
Last week I had the honor of being the speaker at my own MOPS group! MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, an international organization that you should join if you are a Mom of Littles!
I think it's easier to stand up in front of a room of strangers than people I know and care about- it made the stakes extra high that I really want these Moms to benefit from some strategies of ABA! Heck, I want ALL moms to benefit from using ABA! That's why I even write this blog or my book!
I was concerned about filling a whole hour of time with scintillating examples and not bore anyone with my behavior analytic definitions. Well, I had nothing to worry about! These moms asked such good questions as we went along and I felt really good about the discussion that was had!
We talked a LOT about positive reinforcement and how to use it correctly and effectively!
The best ideas for creative reinforcers were:
*Downloading a special song and choreographing a special mother- daughter dance that could only be done after the child successfully ate dinner
*Using scented chapstick (lip smacker type cheapo things) to rub on the back of a toddler's hand for a special treat to sniff when having good behavior
We talked about these strategies and I've already heard from a few of the audience members that they're finding success using some positive behavior supports!
What strategies have you used as a mom lately?
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA