Getting Kids to Do What You Want Them to Do

12 02 2012

Managing the behavior of children can sometimes seem impossible.

 

A well-prepared teacher can have a lesson sabotaged by one mischievous student.

“Stop talking…Don’t get out of your seat…Stop bothering George …This is not the time to play with your toy…Please stop spinning your ruler…Don’t lean back on your chair…”

A responsible parent trying to shop may follow this all-familiar script:

“Don’t touch that…Leave the mannequin alone…Don’t run inside…Stop saying that over and over…No, you can’t go there…No, we can’t buy that…”

Children can wear us out!             

Instead of telling them what not to do, give them something very specific to do.

Sometimes teachers tell students what to do without getting the resistant student to comply. That’s when being very specific helps.

Vague: “Get to work.”

Very specific: “Pick up your pencil and answer the questions now. Keep working until you are finished.”

In the home, the script might sound like this:

Vague: “Do your chores.”

Very specific: “Pick up all those toys and put them in the toy box. Pick up every book and put them in the book shelf. Throw all the trash in the trash can. Put all the clothes in the laundry basket.”

If the child talks back, simply get closer to the child and repeat the directions like a broken record without raising your voice.

Here’s a real conversation I had with my teenage son:

Me: “Move your clothes from the living room and take them to your bedroom now.”

Chris: (while walking up the steps empty handed) “I’ll do it later.”

Me: (following close behind him) “Move your clothes now. Take them from the living room to your bedroom now.”

Chris: (in the bathroom) “I’m going to take a shower now.”

Me: (putting my foot in the door to keep it from closing) “Move your clothes now. Take them from the living room to your bedroom now.”

Chris: (still in the bathroom) “I don’t have any clothes on.”

Me: “Put a towel around you and move your clothes now. Take them from the living room to your bedroom now.”

Chris: (huffing in frustration and resignation) “Oh, all right.”

Practice watching adult-child interactions in the mall.

Look for parents telling their children simply what not to do.  They’ve entered the Land of Not -where people speak only “don’t” and “stop.”

Then listen for parents telling their children what to do.

“Hold onto my coat. Look for a white jacket. Tell me when you see a sale sign.”

Before our sons could read, I gave them their own food list. Pictures on their list were of things I needed to buy. Their job was to look for those items. It kept them busy and helped me.

If you’re interested in learning more about this method of behavior management, check out Michael Valentine’s website.

http://www.michael-valentine.com/outline.html

What’s your greatest behavior management challenge?

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4 responses

20 04 2012
sarah

One of my greatest challenge is my kids’ consistency to do their assigned tasks promptly . A simple fixed schedule on when or who will do the laundry on this specific day cannot be even followed. But the challenge becomes double when it comes to my two kids who have autism, age thirteen and twelve. Sometimes I really do not know what to do.

20 04 2012
Vicki

Dear Sarah,
My first inclination is to give you more advice, but that’s certainly not what you need (I don’t have all the answers…but maybe I can share some tips if you ever need some.)
With two kids who have autism at that age, you mostly need encouragement. As a fellow mom of a child with special needs, I’m here to say I know you’re working so hard…doing the best you can. Consistency is a great standard to have for your kids. 100% would be the goal, but even improvement is success. Hang in there.
I’ll add you to my prayer list.

22 09 2014
search

Hi to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this blog; this webpage contains awesome and truly fine information designed for visitors.

22 09 2014
Vicki Chandler

I’m glad you found my blog. Thanks for the compliment. Have a nice day!
Vicki

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