Changing kids’ behavior, one celebration at a time
Meet kids where they are. THEN teach.
I am constantly learning and re-learning this.
- What goal are you trying to reach with the child?
- What is getting in the child’s way of meeting the goal?
- Really, what is getting in the way? What has you moaning, “If only…”
THAT’S what you work on.
If a particular behavior is preventing the child from accessing the curriculum – or life – then simplify your routines with the child until the behavior is exposed. The child needs to see the behavior, separated from current consequences. Sometimes kids don’t distinguish their actions as separate from the causes and results.
After the child knows which specific behavior you are working on together, begin creative celebrations. Have fun by rewarding the child for any progress. Maybe the child is diminishing an unwanted behavior or maybe s/he is starting a positive behavior. Your goal is to make the new way more engaging for the child than doing things the old way.
New routines need to be more energizing to a child than the familiar. Yes, you need to be ready to give consequences as well. But a child’s pure connection with you the adult will be a huge motivator. By focusing on removing one barrier joyfully and diligently, you may find that the child is ready for learning far more quickly than you thought possible.
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