This week we put together a few tips for helping your child complete a non-preferred task.
Say, “First…. Then…”
Before making a request, set your child up for success by giving them something to look forward to once they’ve completed their work. For example, tell the child, “First read your book, then we can go for a bike ride!” This method, known as the Premack Principle, tends to be most effective when the demand (read your book) is something within the child’s abilities, and when the reward (bike ride) is a highly preferred activity.
Manage the Environment.
Consider the environment that your child will be working in. Is the television on? Is there clutter on the table? Are their siblings playing a noisy game near by? Making changes to the environment, such as turning off the television, may lead to fewer distractions/frustrations while working.
Stay in proximity.
While your child is busy working, stick around and be available. This allows you to see where they may need extra help, even if they don’t ask for it. You will be able to help them, keeping them on task, and making them more successful.
Be Happy. Give Praise.
Tell your child that they’re doing a good job. Encourage them to continue. Thank them for asking you for help. After they have completed the task, let them know that you’re proud of them.
Once the task is complete, give the child access to their preferred activity. Reinforcing the behavior increases the likelihood that your child will comply and be successful next time. Let him or her ride their bike, play on the iPad, or have some M&M’s.
It takes time for skills to be mastered.
We hope that these tips will make the process go a bit smoother for everyone!