Your kid’s “RED day” at school and what it means

photo by USAG-Humphreys via Flickr

photo by USAG-Humphreys via Flickr

One of the most common classroom behavior management systems I see in elementary schools is the traffic light level system wherein students “on green” have shown good behavior and those with not-so-good behavior are either “on yellow” or have the dreaded “red day” if the behavior is bad enough. Some teachers might still use the smiley face system (e.g., smiley, straight face, frowny face), might have more than three colors, or might use the school mascot (e.g., “a green fox day”), but they are all based on the same idea. However, they are used incredibly differently across teachers, so:

Here are some things to ask your child’s teacher and why it matters Continue reading

What is your child escaping?

photo by dadblunders via Flickr

photo by dadblunders via Flickr

The reason your kid does everything in his power to not clean his room is the same reason you do everything you can to not do the dishes. It’s true. So let’s think about “escape” or “avoidance” behavior and what to do about it. Continue reading

Your “map” to better behavior

the map

Knowing where you are going and when you are going to get there always makes a trip go easier. What does this have to do with your child’s behavior?

I have talked a lot on BehaviorBandAid about the value of predictability, being prepared and having a plan. There is no substitution for having a proactive plan and preventing behavior problems before they arise.

I never thought, though, that a valuable behavior lesson would come from a bi-lingual cartoon named Dora, but you take what you can get. Continue reading

3 Reasons behavior plans fail and what to do about it.

photo by Matt Erasmus via Flickr

photo by Matt Erasmus via Flickr

Sometimes parents tell me their behavior plan or reward system worked for a little while, but then stopped working. “He just didn’t care about it anymore,” they often say.

I always try to figure out why these things “fail” so I can help the next plan be more likely to succeed. Here is my list of the three reasons behavior plans fail: Continue reading

Pull this Bandaid off slowly – How to stop reward systems

photo by ngader via Flickr

photo by ngader via Flickr

Am I always going to have to do this?”

Some parents might worry if you start a certain prevention strategy (e.g., bringing books to a restaurant) or a reward strategy (e.g., “Am I always going to have to give her these stickers for cleaning up her room?”), you will always have to keep doing it.

The concern, I think, is these “BehaviorBandAids” (if you will) take too much effort or attention to maintain over long periods of time. Another concern is, “at some point he needs to be able to do this just because and not because he gets something from me.”

I get it…I really do. Continue reading

Always helping? What are you teaching?

photo by  woodleywonderworks via Flickr

photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

There are times when doing for the child takes away an opportunity to teach. 

A child stands in the middle of the room with socks in his outstretched hands.

His mom passes by his room and stops in her tracks as she sees him not even close to being ready. She says, “Put on your socks…seriously, you don’t need me to put on your socks.” She races around collecting bags and making sure the kids have everything ready for school.

Time is ticking, but the bags and big sister are ready. “Where is your brother?” She races back to her son’s room to find the socks on the floor and her son playing with his action figures, seemingly not worried that it is 7:50 and he needs to be at school by 8:00.

“Here…give them to me, why do I have to do this for you? You are too old to not know how to put on your socks.”

Sound familiar? Continue reading

The day I lost the “Parent of the Year” award


January 1, 2013 – The day I lose “Parent of the Year” award – and it will be OK.

I will tell my son from across the room to clean up a toy as he is walking away, not likely listening to me. Another request ignored…

I will be too tired to get up from the sofa and follow through on my earlier request for my son to “clean that up.” We’ll let that one slide.

I will tell my daughter “5 more minutes,” but will lose track of time and, next thing I know, an hour will pass and she will still be playing her new electronic gizmo in her bed and NOT sleeping. I’ll pay for that tomorrow. Continue reading