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Each week we will be sharing a tip from our school psychologist, Mrs. Rollins.
This week we are talking about – Increasing Compliance
When we think of how to get more compliance from kids, we think of sticker charts and token economies. These are helpful change the most difficult behavior from kids because they hold each member accountable for their part like a visual representation of a contract. A sticker chart says, “I see you did the behavior and now I will follow through with what I promised.”
How do we get compliance without always having to give a sticker? Relationship building is the answer. When you have a strong relationship with a child then they will comply more often. Can teachers and parents do the same things? Yes! Though it may look a little different as parents are looking for compliance in different ways with their children versus teachers. Here are some ways to build relationships:
Infuse Playfulness – kids are made for play. You may have to adjust how your playfulness looks depending on age, but making them laugh is the key. -Little kids love adults acting silly so over -acting emotions, dancing, racing them to the place you want to go, or mimicing an animal to get them to start a task can be good ways to infuse play. -Older kids enjoy verbal play like story telling or jokes. For example: “Cleaning up your room is overrated because then you might be able to find that outfit you want to wear on your date. It’s definitely better to leave it dirty and your outfit choice a mystery.”
Physical Connection – hugs, high fives, holding a hand, shoulder pat and proximity are acceptable at home and school though the intensity definitely varies. Little kids thrive off of physical connection to trusted caregivers. Teens are more accepting if they grew up with it being important, but start with small gestures then they can guide you to what is helpful.
Welcome Emotion – this one is allowing our children to feel what they feel and show them emotions are ok. To help our children co-regulate we help them name the emotion, make sense of the emotion and decide with them what to do about it or let it go.
Listen and Empathize– take time to have your kid talk to you and reply with just emotion naming and supportive comments like, “That seems scary…that must have felt hard to do…you must have been brave.” Doing this can help you find out reasons for noncompliance.
One to One time– all of these are more effective if you can find a time or place to connect with them individually. For parents it can be bigger chunks of time going to a preferred activity together, playing games they love or reading a book together. For teachers it can be checking in with them for a few minutes at recess, during independent work or a transition in class.
Transition Connection– If you know a difficult task is coming up like a separation from parents, taking a difficult assessment, giving a presentation, then frontloading your kid with a comforting touch or talk session can help them feel safe, secure and more confident. The same is true as they finish a difficult task and transition to something less demanding.
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