How to Teach Your Kids the Behavior You Want to See

How to Teach Your Kids the Behavior You Want to See

When it feels like EVERYTHING is going wrong and there is NO WAY to deal with it – know that you aren’t alone. Last week I provided two simple steps to dealing with tough behaviors, in and out of the home. This week, we’re talking about how to teach and reinforce behavior you want to see. These three steps are necessary for success!

Step 1 – Break the skill down into 3 easy to follow steps

So many of the skills we want our kids to display seem like things they should just know how to do but the reality is, they aren’t! Even if we have taught them, they most likely are not as clear as they need to be on how YOU want them to do it!

Last week you figured out what you wanted them to be doing instead of the behaviors they were doing. I told you to be as specific as possible. This becomes important in this step. The more specific your behavior is, the easier it is to break down into 3 easy to follow steps.

So, let’s look at an example. Let’s say the behavior you are looking for is doing what you tell them the FIRST time you tell them. (See how that’s more specific than “doing what I say?”).

Step 1: When I am talking to you, stop what you are doing
Step 2: Listen to the entire instruction
Step 3: Do what I told you to do (within 1 minute) in the way that I told you to do it.

That’s it! That’s all that you need to include when breaking that skill down. The more “extras” you add in, the less likely your child is to perform the skill correctly.

Step 2: Teach the skill

This part can be done in so many different ways but what is most important is that you don’t try and teach at the same time you are actually trying to get them to do the skill. It is really important that you take the time to teach your child the 3 steps you are looking for. Just telling them once is likely not enough.

Practice, practice, practice!

Think about any new skill you have learned in your life and about how long it took you to actually master that skill. That will be the same learning rate for your child with this new behavior!

Hint… It is always nice to have a visual for your child to have with them with the steps written out so they can refer to it as needed. This makes it much easier to get kids to comply with your requests.

Step 3: Reinforce the new skill

This is where you get to really make sure the new skill “sticks” and that your child understands that this new behavior is what you want to see each time. What you use to reinforce your child is as individualized as your child. The important things to remember with reinforcement are:

  • Make sure what you are using as reinforcement is actually reinforcing for your child
  • Make sure you reinforce as often as you can at the beginning. (there is no such thing as too much reinforcement when teaching a new skill)
  • Be consistent. If you say that your child will get reinforcement every time they show the skill, then stick to that!
  • Set up a plan that works for you and your child. IT should be reinforcing enough to be motivating to your child AND feasible for you to be able to keep up with!
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated!!!

Teach and Reinforce Behavior

By using these three steps to teach and reinforce behavior, you’ll be well on your way to a more peaceful home environment.

Want additional help? Contact me for a consultation and let’s talk through your challenges and some strategies you can implement during this tough time!

Coming up next week: I’ll explain reinforcement and easy ideas you can use in the home!

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