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Observing And Defining Behavior: Shaping School Behavior

September 8, 2009
Times Observer
BY DONNA JEAN SCANIO, RETIRED GUIDANCE COUNSELOR/AUTHOR, FREDONIA

Summer is almost over. This is a good time to teach your child necessary skills to prepare for the new school year. How about teaching your son or daughter how to manage their time and how to use organizational skills? You can teach Jimmy how to set time frames for completing home tasks that can be used when school begins. You can also teach Jimmy to keep track of his toys and things. This skill can also be used to keep track of school books, folders and homework when he returns to school.

Sitting down with Jimmy and explaining how setting up time to complete tasks will help him become more responsible. Explain how he will feel good about himself when he completes his tasks in an orderly fashion. Also explain that learning how to manage his time can be useful when he returns to school. Let Jimmy know that completing his homework on time, having his books and being prepared for class will help him to get better grades. His teachers will be happy with him. Let Jimmy know that you will be pleased and that he will feel good about himself. It is important to remember that kids need to learn time management and organizational skills. These skills do not come naturally. Children do not think about time as an adult would. They also do not think about organization. We need to teach them these skills.

You can help Jimmy learn these skills by setting up a program with Jimmy where he earns rewards for learning these skills. If Jimmy uses time management and becomes more organized with his things, he can earn stars or points. These stars and points can earn him some of his favorite privileges. Explain to Jimmy that you will set this program up together and decide with him the privileges he can earn as he completes these tasks. Let Jimmy know that it will also help in the home when Jimmy keeps track of his things and uses his time wisely.

Set up a chart to post on the refrigerator. You will need a poster board, markers and stars. On the chart, list times for each task to be completed. If Jimmy has two tasks per day he will earn two stars per day if completed. At the end of the week Jimmy would have 10 stars if he completes his two tasks per day. You may want to start out by having Jimmy earn 8 stars the first two weeks to earn privileges. Privileges can be video games, telephone, TV, or whatever you think will motivate Jimmy to complete his tasks. This is a good way to teach Jimmy to complete his tasks and become more responsible at home. Jimmy can also earn stars for keeping track of his toys and putting them away. As Jimmy learns to complete tasks on time and to be more organized, explain to Jimmy that he needs to use these new learned behaviors in school. Tell him he can continue to earn stars for privileges when school starts. It is important to remember that you must reinforce these newly learned skills until Jimmy learns them and uses them all the time.

It is important to be honest with Jimmy and explain that he is taking responsibility for his behaviors. Jimmy needs to know that how he acts lets people judge who he is. He may not complete his homework in a timely fashion and his teachers will see him as irresponsible. He may not get good grades and he will not feel good himself. Let Jimmy know that you love him and you care how his teachers see him. I have found that kids will do better in school if parents support the teachers. If kids hear parents put the teachers down, I have seen children not complete assignments and not do what the teachers ask.

This attitude sets a child up for failure. Ultimately, the child’s grades suffer and furthermore the child feels bad. Don’t kid yourself that it does not hurt a child if they are receiving bad grades or the teacher is getting on the child all the time. It can destroy their self esteem. We would do well to note that the child needs the teacher, so working with, rather than against the teacher, should be your goal.

In conclusion, support the teachers, teach your child how to be organized and use time management, and make learning fun for your child. By teaching these skills to your child, you are helping him/her to take responsibility for his/her own behaviors. Your child will also be learning skills necessary to succeed in life. Remember that in a few more years your child will be entering the real world. In our society, we are judged not by how we feel but how we act and behave. Make sure you give your child the best possible chance to be judged well. You will be making life a lot easier for Jimmy. Enjoy and again, have fun with Jimmy.

Materials in this article come from my Book, “RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, REWARD, IS YOUR CHARACTER SHOWING”. Other books can be seen at www.authorhouse.com Type in under author, Donna Jean Scanio, to see complete listing of books. For more information you can contact me by e-mail at angeldjs@roadrunner.com (under subject type PG Magazine).

Donna Jean Scanio was born in Rochester, New York and grew up in a rural area in Western New York State. She has 2 grown sons and currently resides with her father in New York.

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