5 TIPS TO DECREASE IMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS TO TANGIBLES THINGS
5 TIPS TO DECREASE IMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS TO TANGIBLES things
We want what we want and we want it now! The difference between kids and adults though, while Adults are able to wait, be patient, or regulate themselves, many kids still do not have the experience to manage their wants. We’ve all experienced kids crying, tantrumming, or asking over and over because they really just want that thing. So what do you do when it’s just not available or you said no, but it won’t stop?
These 5 tips to decrease behaviors reinforced by tangibles can help to create a plan. A plan to decrease behaviors related to tangible access.
- MAKE SURE STUDENTS KNOW HOW TO GET WHAT THEY WANT APPROPRIATELY
It is important to teach children the appropriate ways to get their needs or what they want. We don’t necessarily want a student to ask to play on the tablet 15 times in an hour. While some of our kids might have the skills to raise their hand and appropriately ask for the things that they want, many don’t.
A student who is constantly taking things out of the hands of their peers might just not know how to appropriately ask if they could have a turn. Teaching a student how to ask for what they want, whether it is by vocally requesting, exchanging a picture, signing or pointing, can decrease inappropriate attempts to get that thing.
- SET UP THE ENVIRONMENT FOR SUCCESS
It might seem simple, but easy modifications to the classroom can have a big impact. They can really help decrease behaviors reinforced by access to tangibles, if one child is distracted by the bookshelf he sits next to; consider moving that student to the other side of the room. If another student is constantly asking to use the iPads, try putting the ipads in a closed cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s like seeing a child cry on the floor in the grocery store checkout line because his mom won’t buy him the candy bar. If that candy wasn’t so conveniently located there, that tantrum might have been avoided all together. The idea is to set up the environment to have the least amount of reminders of what the student is wanting.
- BUILD IN OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THATTHING
If there’s a hot ticket item, activity, or reward that students are constantly distracted by, asking for, or “stuck” on, consider setting up opportunities for it throughout the day to decrease the motivation to ask later on. You wouldn’t ask for a sandwich if you just ate one, right?! Well, maybe sometimes. Building in opportunities for students to have access to preferred items and toys will help decrease asking later on. A student who has 5 minutes of free play with their favorite toy at the beginning of the day might be less likely to throw tantrum for some play time during a lesson.
- SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY
“Okay, fine” is one of the worst things that you could say if a student is engaging in inappropriate behavior to gain access to something. If you have given a direction, or said “no” to something, and the child begins to engage in some sort of behavior in an attempt to get it back, and after 5 minutes of crying you say “okay, fine, you can have it”, that student just learned that it takes 5 minutes of crying (or throwing, or falling to the floor…etc.), to get you to give in. This is tricky, because you have a classroom full of students, so if you absolutely must give in, make sure the student is calm and asks appropriately in some way before you do!
- EXAMINE WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON
As always, it’s so important to make sure that you’re looking at the big picture. In order to decrease behaviors reinforced by access to tangibles, we need to know what’s going on. There are so many variables to why a student might be acting out in order to gain access to something. They may need help learning the skill of waiting. Maybe they’re asking and crying for lunch time because they weren’t able to eat breakfast this morning and they’re really hungry. Maybe they are pushing their peers to get their toys because they’ve seen it work for their siblings at home. Investigating why a child might be so motivated for something will help us to better teach them the skills they need to get it, and might give us a little more compassion along the way.