“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!