by Heather Logan | Jan 03, 2017

hm_abcBack. To. School. The stresses of going back to school after the long weekend or an extended break may seem daunting for some parents. But with these tips and tricks the transition back to the weekday routine will be a breeze.

There are several preventative measures parents can take to help their child with successful afternoons and evening once they are home from school.

Priming strategies are one effective way to prepare you child.

Tell your child or show your child pictures of what their activities will be once they are back in school after the break. For example, creating a visual schedule (picture icons or written text) together where the child can choose the order of the activities. Also, practice going through the evening routine like sitting at the table and completing an activity, as well as preparing their backpack. If possible, drive by the school in advance, and remind them that they will be going back.

Practicing transitioning from a highly preferred activity to a neutral activity, and then from a neutral to a less preferred.

This can be done by providing the child with a choice of what they want to do next. A timer can be used to let your child know that their time with an item or an activity will be finished once the timer goes off. Keep in mind, once the timer goes off it is not recommended to give more time. Do not engage in bargaining such as “I will practice piano for 5 more minutes if I get 3 more minutes of iPad games”. 

You can always remind your child that they can earn access to the preferred item and activity once they have completed the neutral or less preferred task. For example, “Once you finish practicing piano you can have more time on the iPad”.

Practice other redirection techniques.

Withholding reinforcing items and engage in less reinforcing activities so that those can be used to motivate the child to comply with the demands of school and the weekday routine.

If your child engages in mal-adaptive behaviors such as verbal protest, bargaining, crying, arguing, physical aggression, property destruction, and escape there are several things you can do to redirect them to comply with the demand, and get them to do what you want.First, the use of the Pre-Mack principle or “first/then” statement is effective in redirecting your child. This statement lets the child know that there is a highly preferred item or activity that will be given once the initial task is complete. This could be done verbally or visually by using picture icons or written text (depending on your child’s learning style).

Written by: By James C. and Polina L.

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