Learning at Home: Changing Our Language to Help with Challenging Behaviors

REFRAME OUR WORDS for POSITIVE OUTCOMES

Now more than ever, we need to use positive, precise language to help support the development and practice of positive social and emotional skills.

Remember- the child is still learning. We need to always be modeling, guiding and practicing the skills we want our children to display.

We can reframe the way we view behavior to look through a lens that all behavior is a form of communication or a need for skill fluency practice (need for the behavior to be explicitly taught with precise language and practiced multiple times in multiple situations).

Reframe Our Words journeyintoearlychildhood

We also reframe our requests to our children to specifically teach what we DO want students to be doing. We are teaching the correct behavior instead of giving attention to the incorrect behavior. This is challenging when we are upset. We cannot regulate our children if we are not regulated ourselves.

Walk away, take three deep breaths, and then reframe your request using direct language of specifically what you want your child to do.

EXAMPLES:

STATEMENTREFRAME to the POSITIVE and/or to the PRECISE
Don’t run.Use walking feet to stay safe.
Don’t yell.Use a quiet voice to be ready.
Don’t hit your brother.Keep your hands to yourself.
Stop throwing your food.Food stays on the plate or in your mouth.
Don’t look away and listen to meEyes are looking at me and ears are open for listening.
Be nice. (Too vague and abstract for young children. They need concrete rules.)Say “thank you.”
Be kind. (Too vague and abstract for young children. They need concrete rules.)You take a turn first and then your sister takes a turn.
Don’t grab it from your sister.Choose a different toy. Your sister is playing with that. Ask your sister if you can play with it after her.
journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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