Monday, January 27, 2014

Setting Personal Records is Better Than Nagging, for Everyone

Completing routines with young children is tough, especially when a schedule has to be upheld.  Having multiple children and children with emotional, behavioral, and/or developmental issues can make routines exponentially more difficult.  The following is one strategy that can be used to alleviate some of the inevitable stress of routines.  This technique is designed for any child, but the example will highlighting a young boy with severe oppositional behavior challenges.  His oppositional behaviors made it very difficult to get him and his siblings ready for school without a lot of stress.  Starting the day in this manner was wearing on the whole family.  First a routine chart was implemented.  This technique worked to an extent:  the child loved earning check marks, but constant reminders at best and yelling at worst were still a staple in this family's morning.  There was little improvement when the child had control over the routine chart - adding check marks on his own.  At this point the caregiver was feeling at a loss and so the idea of a timer was introduced (remember that most phones have a timer).  The caregiver would set the timer when the child was done with breakfast.  He then had a pre-determined amount of time to get dressed, which was typically the toughest part of the morning.  Instead of starting with all the morning routines being timed, the family started small to foster success.  The child would track his progress by recording how fast he was able to get dressed.  It worked extremely well!  This solution was successful because he was racing against himself instead of battling with a nagging adult.  This technique fosters independence, develops creative thinking through encouraging the child to discover how to become faster, and ultimately starts the day on a positive note.

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