On big days, go for extra.
In behavior speak- consider the setting events. Setting events are things that can affect our children’s’ behavior, maybe even make problem behavior more likely. They aren’t triggers or immediate antecedents, but something in the environment, in the big picture that makes those antecedents more likely to cause a problem.
So what makes a big day?
- Days that come with extra expectations.
- Days with extra stress
- Days with unexpected stressors (hello changes in school situations due to covid)
- Day before a holiday
- Day after a holiday
- Tuesdays (just kidding. Sort of)
So what can do for our kids? How do we go for extra?
- Fill their buckets first. In behaviors peak- give noncontingent reinforcement. Give them attention, access to preferred toys, some alone time- whatever they need- for free. Not all things have to be earned.
- Give extra positive attention. Lay on the praise, high fives, and genuine statements of gratitude for appropriate behavior on hard days. Give extra good attention.
- Give extra prompts. That means jump in and help them when you see a problem. Don’t wait and dole out consequences. Help them to make the right choices because it’s just extra hard on these big days. More prompting, more modeling, more hand-holding on big days.
Look at the big picture. Consider the setting events. Go for extra.