11 Days of Skills for Kids: Compliance

11 Days of Skills for Kids: Compliance

As we continue the 11-day journey through the “non-academic/learning to learn” skills all children need, detailing the skill of compliance, I just want to remind you that these shouldn’t be complicated. Don’t get overwhelmed, just do what you can. And – if you have questions, make sure to reach out! I’m ready and available to support you during this unexpected break from school!

Download this article as a PDF so you can read it later! Find it HERE.

Skill #10: Compliance

Compliance is probably one of the most important skills a child can learn to be successful in the classroom! Teachers report students doing what they are told to do, as one of the most important skills they look for students to have to be successful in their classroom. This is also a skill that can look very different depending on who the teacher is and even depending on what time of the day it is or what the activity is.

So let’s start at the beginning, what is compliance? Compliance is simply doing what the teacher says to do in the way they tell you to do it. (both parts are equally important; the what and the how) I am sure that you are already working on compliance at home so it is an easy skill to be a little more systematic with and make a plan for working on at times throughout your day. Because compliance is a skill that is required all day/every day when students are in school, any extra work you can do on this skill will pay off when your child returns to school. 

Many kids, for different reasons, struggle with this skill. Some kids don’t like it when they are told to do something and some kids like to do things “their own way. Whether a student has a hard time complying with all of the instructions given, or only instructions from certain people or around certain tasks, this skill deficit can greatly impact their classroom success. 

Practice Makes Perfect

The good news is that the more you practice the skill, the better your child will be at compliance and that is a win for everyone! Remember, defining the behavior (exactly the way you want them to do it) is so important. It may seem obvious to you, but don’t assume your child knows what your expectations are. An example of defining what compliance looks like is; (This is just an example, define it any way you want!)

  1. Listen to the instruction given
  2. Do exactly what the adult instructs (without arguing/questioning)
  3. Do what is instructed right away

I know this looks really simple and that is because ~ IT IS! Compliance is just doing what you are told to do without arguing. 🙂

Hint for Teachers: If there is a way that you want parents to practice compliance, let them know!

How to Practice Compliance

Practicing compliance can and should be practiced throughout the day across all types of daily activities.

Here are a few helpful hints when practicing compliance:

  • Start with easier activities (things your child is more likely to comply with)
  • If there is more than one adult in the house, vary who gives the instruction
  • When giving an instruction that you expect compliance on, don’t ask~tell
  • Only ask your child to do something if there is an option of them NOT doing what you are asking.
  • Don’t engage in back and forth banter once you’ve given the instruction. 
  • Once you have given an instruction, don’t negotiate 
  • Sometimes it’s okay to ignore the non-compliance
  • Let them know how awesome they are when they do what you tell them to do
  • Make sure your instructions are reasonable and respectful 
  • Partial compliance can be okay when it’s moving in the right direction (if you usually get no compliance, and then you get partial compliance, that’s a good thing!)

Helpful hint: Compliance looks different depending on the age/development of your child. Setting your child up for success will really help your child master compliance. Don’t ask your child to do something that you know they are very unlikely to do. Start with instructions that they are more likely to comply with so you get a chance to reinforce them!

Reinforce the Skill of Compliance

Setting up a simple reinforcement around this particular skill can be very simple.

Step 1: Define the behavior clearly. Make sure your child knows exactly what compliance looks like. (Remember- it is so important that you tell them exactly what you are looking for and what you don’t want to see.)

Step 2: Decide when you want to work on the skill. There is no right amount. Ultimately, your goal should be to make this time doable for you and your child. (This should not be worked on with every task you give them- just a few times a day!)

Step 3: Decide what kind of reinforcement you want to use and how often they receive it. I like to use a compliance jar or chart where they can earn a token every time they comply. This gives you so many opportunities to catch them doing what you ask! 

Step 4: Discuss what the plan is with your child and then stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to reinforcing behavior! 

TIP: As we move through more and more skills, I just want to remind everyone that you shouldn’t be working on ALL of these skills at once! I like picking one each week and just focusing on that one. 

Find More Resources

No matter what your goals are for this time, make sure to check out the other resources I offer for parents and teachers. Then, come back tomorrow and let’s talk about the next skill all children need to know!

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