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  • Writer's pictureCoField ABA

Tips And Tricks For Working With Your Child At Home

Research indicates that parents who take a role in their child's learning often see greater success in generalizing skills from school and therapy to home. However, we know how difficult it can be for parents to shift into a teaching role at home. While we never expect parents to become their child's therapist, we do find that using some simple tips and tricks may help with introducing new routines and skills from therapy or school into the home environment.

Always Include Reinforcement:When working with your child at home, one of the easiest strategies to use is “first-then.” This involves the child finishing a learning or chore activity before they are able to do something preferred. This can be as simple as withholding a toy/preferred item or activity until after a task is completed (e.g., “First get dressed and make your bed, and then you can watch TV”).

Set Clear Expectations and Give a Heads Up: Give your child a countdown to when you will begin working and the activity you will be doing together. (e.g., “in 5 minutes we are going to work on your spelling words”). Once the activity begins, clearly state your expectations for the task (e.g., “we are going to practice printing ten spelling words, and then you can play on your iPad.”)

Always Follow Through With an Instruction: If you ask your child to do complete a task, make sure you follow through with the request, even if some prompting is needed. Some days you may need to adjust your expectations by lowering demands or changing the order of activities (e.g., if your child is having a hard time focusing, try going for a walk before completing school work, or reducing the number of tasks your child must complete).

Reinforcement Should Match Effort: If your child needs help to follow a familiar instruction, small social praise such as “thanks for listening” and a high five is appropriate. However, if your child does something difficult for the first time, their reward should be increased (e.g., extra time on the iPad).

Work Up to More Difficult Tasks: When starting to work on a set of skills with your child, start with easier and quicker tasks to ensure they are successful. (e.g., have your child practice tracing their name before printing it on their own). This also allows you to increase the amount of time you work together each day.

Offer a Choice When Possible: Allow your child to make choices within the activity. For example, ask your child to pick which book they want to read with you. You can also offer choices about the order of activities (e.g., :do you want to work on your letters or numbers first?”).

Make it Fun!: whenever possible try to find different and creative ways to work on skills that don't involve sitting at a desk or table. Try working on skills in an iPad game, do tracing and colouring outside with chalk or on a whiteboard, ask them to find numbers outside on your daily walk. If your child enjoys the activity, they are more likely to be successful, and want to continue learning every day.


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