Preparation is the Key to Success
Proactive vs. Reactive Strategies
In the behavior world, we often talk about strategies as either proactive (things that we can do before a behavior occurs, to create an environment that promotes success) or reactive (meaning, what we do after a behavior occurs).
- Provide multiple warnings
- Use a visual countdown timer (Read: Using a Timer to Cue Transition)
- Have an established reinforcement system in place for compliance (Read: How to Improve Your Child's Behavior with a Points System)
- Increase motivation for toothbrushing by having a toothbrush with our child’s favorite character on it.
All of these strategies have to be thought of in advance, and require planning.
Using the same example, the reactive strategy would be, "How I will respond if my child refuses to comply or throws a tempter tantrum?" Calmly clean up the toys and continue presenting the instruction that it’s time to brush teeth.
The proactive strategies often get neglected when parents are attempting to address a behavioral issue with their child. We believe that adequate preparation and planning are even more important than the reactive strategy at times, and they deserve attention and thought.
In fact, in most of our tutorials on addressing problems with our children, it’s safe to say that at least 50% (if not more) is devoted to changes that need to be made before addressing the behavior itself.
Don’t neglect the planning! It sets the stage for achieving a successful routine for both parents and kids, and isn’t that what we are all looking for??