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We had one of those weekends. The kind of weekend when you look forward to sending the kids off on Monday morning to school and/or therapy. I bet they look forward to going, too! Have you experienced one of those? Our children are exhausted and so are we. Those weekends make it challenging to start fresh each day with our autistic children.
Starting each day with a clean slate is part of applied behavioral analysis (ABA), which is a therapy method that many children with autism undergo as part of early intervention. As a parent, I thought that consequences for behavior meant taking away a privilege for the following day. It took some work for me to change my mindset – it is more valuable to earn a privilege than to take it away. Our children need to start fresh each day with positivity, not a negative consequence.
For me, it was easy to yell, “No TV tomorrow!” or, “You lost your cars for tomorrow!” Through the counsel of our children’s therapists, we learned that responding calmly to negative behaviors guides our kids through those behaviors. Instead of escalating a situation, we now approach it with a peaceful attitude. It makes a big difference.
This does not mean that you can’t take away a privilege for the rest of the day. We currently utilize a countdown method with our children. For example, “I am counting down from 5 and then you will put on your shoes.” If our kids are not in meltdown mode and are able to process consequences, we might say something like, “I am counting down from 5. You will put on your shoes or I will need to take away (the toy they are distracted with).”
Earning privileges also helps children feel like they are working toward something instead of having something taken away from them. It is a positive approach rather than another negative consequence. Our children can easily feel like they’re told what not to do (i.e. don’t hit, don’t run from me, don’t forget to wash your hands). Changing our mindset to a positive behavioral approach with short, positive commands (i.e. nice hands, hold my hand, let’s sing while we wash hands), can make a huge difference in your relationship with your child!
I’d love to hear your experience with taking a positive approach with your child’s consequences and behaviors! Share your own tips and learning experiences in the comments below.
I’m linking up today with Blog With Friends and this month’s theme, “Starting Fresh!” I hope you’ll check out these posts from a fabulous group of bloggers:
Karen at Baking in a Tornado – Springtime Waffles
Eileen at Eileen’s Perpetually Busy – A Fresh Start for the Kitchen for Less Than $100
Dawn at Spatulas on Parade – Garlic Honey Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Tamara at Confessions of a part-time working mom – My journey from (former) couch potato to (wannabe) fitness buff
Kia at Think in English – 7 Fresh Ideas Straight From the 2017 TESOL Convention in Seattle
Rabia at The Lieber Family – Starting Fresh: Tips and Thoughts on Moving
Melissa at My Heartfelt Sentiments – Handmade Gift Bag
Lydia at Cluttered Genius – Daily Devotions to Start Your Day
Minette at Southern Belle Charm – Dollar Tree Wreath for Spring