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Teaching Tools

The following Teaching Tools are recommended in many of the Behavior Checker solutions, where we give specific advice on how to use each tool to solve that behavior problem and teach the appropriate behavior.  

  • When your little one can walk, he’s ready for you to use this tool. This strategy motivates a child to complete a task within a time limit. Simply set a timer—a smart-phone timer works well—and say, “Let’s see if you can get that done before the timer sounds. Ready, set, go!” Then, as the child moves toward the goal, offer encouragement, as you would if she was playing on a team sport, saying, “Way to get those blocks in the box! Good job!” When the task is done—or the child has done what you ask—compliment her effort, saying, I like the way you put those blocks in the box!”

  • When your little one can sit up for a few minutes, she’s ready for you to use this tool. This strategy allows everyone to calm down and problem-solve. Say,  “I’m sorry, we both need to calm down. Please sit on the step (stool) and I will sit on the chair (step), while we think about what happened and try to decide a better way to solve this problem. I’ll set a timer so we will know when “calm time” is over.”

  • When your little one can walk and follow one to two directions,  he’s ready to use this tool. This motivational strategy is based on the “When-Then” model, as in: “When you have done what I asked, then you may do your activity.” This is a strategy many of us use to manage our day.

  • When your little one is angry and out of control, you are both in need of this tool.  This time is that period of calm after conflict when anger is no longer blocking the ability to think, such as following a tantrum or any anger outburst.

  • Best to begin using on day one of your child’s life to build a habit of encouraging learning.  Praise is given to recognize a desired behavior, such as: “You picked up your blocks and put them away. Thank you for helping,” or “You are playing so nicely with your brother.” The behavior is praised, not the person!

  • When your child can understand what it means to be “quiet”, she’s ready to use this tool. (Around 2 years old…start demonstrating the concept when can follow a direction)  This game is played when quiet is desired, such as at bedtime. Simply say, “Let’s see how long you can stay quiet. Shhhhhh!” Then periodic praise is given for quiet by whispering, “You are being so quiet. You’re going to win the quiet game.”

  • When your child can understand what “stop” means (a command to cease a behavior), this tool can be used. (about 9 months and up)  Reprimand involves three steps: 1) a command, 2) a reason, 3) a replacement behavior.  For example: 1) “Stop hitting! 2) “Hitting hurts!” 3) “Use your words!”

  • When your child can understand what a “rule” means (a boundary to keep his behavior safe), then he’s ready for this tool. (walking and up)  Rules are limits that are set to offer guidance, spell out expectations, and when internalized, guide behavior. For example, to teach a child about car-seat safety, say: “The rule is, the car can’t move until you are in your seat and buckled in.”

  • SOCS: When you want to teach your child how to work through making a decision to solve a problem, teach the SOCS method: S stands for Situation, O stands for Opportunities, C stands for Consequences, and S stands for Solutions. Ask your child to describe the situation he is in to get the facts straight. Then ask him to think about the choices he has to make regarding the situation. Next, ask him to look at the consequences of each of the choices. And finally, after analyzing the consequences of each opportunity, it will become clear as to what the best solution to the problem will be.

  • When your child can understand and follow your simple directions, this is a basic distraction tool. It can be used any time your child is either doing something or about to do something that you know is dangerous, off-limits or hurtful. For example, let’s say your daughter loves to dig in the potted plant. So when you see her reaching for the plant, you can distract her attention by telling her to look at something you have in your hand or to bring you something on the other side of the room. 

The authors and Raised with Love and Limits Foundation disclaim responsibility for any harmful consequences, loss, injury or damage associated with the use and application of information or advice contained in these prescriptions and on this website. These protocols are clinical guidelines that must be used in conjunction with critical thinking and critical judgment.