Continuing a Positive Behavior Program at the End of the School Day: A Parent and Family Guide
When you practice a Positive Behavioral Program at Home such as PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), you accomplish two things: You support what your child is learning at school, and you create better behaviors outside of school. The following is a brief guide on how to incorporate a Positive Behavior Program into your home routine.
I. Learn the Expectations (Be Ready, Take Ownership, Be Accepting, Be Respectful)
Think about what it means to be READY, take OWNERSHIP, be ACCEPTING, and be RESPECTFUL in your home. Focus on behaviors that you can SEE and your child can easily understand (for example, taking ownership might mean cleaning up after yourself, and being ready might mean going to bed at the appropriate bedtime). Include your child in this activity and make them think! Write down what you have decided on a poster for your home.
II. Use the Language in your Daily Parenting
Think about the words you use when you are trying to teach one of your expectations at home, and replace those words with the Expectations. For example, if your child is watching TV instead of setting the table for dinner, instead of saying “Why isn’t the table set yet?”, ask “Are you READY for dinner to start?”. Ask, “Why not?”-the purpose of PBIS is to get children to THINK about their behavior and to PROBLEM SOLVE. Follow up by asking “What could you do to show me that you are ready?”. PBIS language is SIMPLE, but it takes PRACTICE to use it every day. Remember to re-frame what you are asking to make it reflect what you want a child to DO, not what you DON’T want them to do…instead of “stop running” or “no hitting”, say “walk” or “hands to yourself”. Practice saying what you want to say without using the words “no”, “stop”, or “don’t” (it’s surprisingly hard!).
III. Model, Teach, and Re-Teach the Skills with Your Child
Our children learn behavioral skills from us! Demonstrate for your child what you would like to see from them. Model what positive behavior looks like, and even what it doesn’t look like! Put on “skits” or “plays” at home-don’t be afraid to look silly or to have fun! The more you practice, the more your child will learn (and respect) the Expectations!
IV. Make the Experience Rewarding and Enjoyable for Your Child
V. Communication is the MOST IMPORTANT THING!
- Positive Behavior is LEARNED. Children are not intrinsically motivated to show positive behavior…they learn to do it because of the reaction they get from us! While children will learn from positive or negative consequences, they are more motivated and create lifetime motivation (not just when we are around) when consequences are positive. Talk with your child about things that they like to do and things they enjoy and create a list. Remember, a special privilege doesn’t have to cost a thing; it could mean extra time together, a trip to the park, a movie at home, a late bedtime, or a trip to the library. The thing most children want is time with you!
- Keep it simple…don’t worry about teaching every behavior in every area at once…think about an Expectation (ie. Being Respectful) or an area (ie. Bedtime) and start with that.
- Create a daily way to keep track of the positive behavior you are focusing on…younger children tend to like stickers or smiley faces on a chart, and older kids might like a “Responsibility Chart” that they can check off themselves. Younger children need more reinforcement, so you might have to check in with them more often during the day. Some pointers: Children learning a new skill will only do it right about 6-8 out of 10 times, so they won’t be perfect-make sure you give some room for error. Make sure your child gets to experience the reward at least three days out of the week-if they are not, the skill is too hard and they will become discouraged. Pick an easier skill and work up to the more difficult one. When your child is perfect almost every day for two to three weeks, it’s time to change skills!
- Create the ground rules about how a privilege will be earned and when the child will receive it (ie. If the child earns a late bedtime, this may have to be “cashed in” on weekends only) and discuss it with your child in advance so everyone is clear on the rules.
- Remember, the privilege a child earns for the behavior you choose is separate from discipline…if a child earns a privilege for going to bed on time each day, he/she will still earn it even if they have misbehaved in another way…you discipline the other behavior! If you take away an earned reward or try to “bargain” with a child using the reward, the program will not work!
Even if a Positive Behavior Program is not implemented in your home, you can still support what your child is doing at school in many ways:
- Talk regularly with your child about what they are learning about PBIS
- Read about PBIS in our School Handbook or in materials sent home with your child (and on our school webpage!)
- Talk to your child’s teacher about how to support your child’s PBIS program.
- Use the PBIS language with your child as often as you can and THINK POSITIVE!
- Volunteer for upcoming PBIS events
***As always, thank you for your time and dedication to making your child’s school experience the best that it can be. Our faculty and staff are here to assist you in any way that you need to reinforce both behavioral and academic learning with your child. If you are interested in learning more about PBIS, please speak with a member of the Temple Hill PBIS Team, with your child’s teacher, or visit www.pbis.org