Strategies for Reducing Challenging Behaviors
In this blog, we are continuing off last week’s post on understanding the causes of challenging behaviors, and will be talking about how to create strategies to implement in each situation to help minimize the likelihood of challenging behaviors occurring in the first place.
One strategy to use for children who have difficulty communicating would be to use pictures and illustrations of actions or events to explain what is about to occur. This can help set clear expectations of what you’re asking them to do or what is about to happen. These pictures may be best for kids who tantrum when going from one place to another, when going to new places or seeing new people, and when a child does not have a consistent daily routine or there is going to be a significant change to their routine.
Another strategy to help decrease how frequently children engage in challenging behaviors is to teach them more appropriate ways to communicate. When working to decrease challenging behaviors, understanding why the behavior is occurring and teaching a form of communication that serves the same purpose is important. Some great examples of this include asking for a toy or snack, asking for a break or for something to stop, and asking for help with a difficult task. There are a number of ways a child can effectively communicate, and it does not have to be verbal. Other, non-verbal forms of communication can include pointing or bringing you to what they want, using a speech-generating device, utilizing a picture exchange communication system, and using sign language.
The last strategy we will talk about today is to give your child things they want before those challenging behaviors occur. For instance, if your child loves getting attention from you, try to remember to give them attention while they are doing things you want them to do. As busy parents, it can be easy to let a child play alone when they are content, but if they start to engage in challenging behaviors, you have to respond. When you can remember to give them praise, tickles, hugs, or other forms of attention while they are doing the things you want, this can reduce the likelihood of them engaging in the challenging behaviors in the first place. Likewise, if you can give your child access to the items or activities they like when they are engaging in desired behaviors, this can minimize the chances of them engaging in challenging behaviors to access those same items.
In this post, we talked about three great strategies that can be used to help reduce how frequently challenging behaviors may occur, and some potential situations to implement each of them. These strategies just scratch the surface, as every child is different and what works for one may not work for another, but they can help provide some insight!
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