You need to teach your child “When I do what I’m asked, I get what I want.” -Kerri Orr, Behavioral Therapist
Memorize this message because you will be teaching it to your child over and over again. In order to teach this, you must begin with simple trades that your child is capable of doing. For example, my little gal doesn’t obey commands like “bring me your sippy cup” or “bring me a book and I will read it”. She does obey commands like “give me a high five” and “give mommy a kiss”. It’s a simple practice that I am weaving into my daily life that is teaching her that in order to get what she wants, she must give me something first as a trade.
Bargaining examples for a young toddler:
1.) My daughter looks at me in front of a chair and says “up” one of her first words and most often used. I tell her, “First give Mommy a kiss and then I will put you up!” Once I get the kiss (trade unit) I do what she wants (assistance).
2.) When she asked for cheese, I said, “First give Daddy a high-five and then I will give you some cheese.”
3.) “I know you want to play. Can you give me your brush first? Then we will play.”
Bargaining examples for an older toddler:
1.) First bring me your shoes and then we will go for a walk.
2.) First you need to eat then we will play.
3.) I know you want to go to the park/playground. Thank you for telling me. We will go in ten minutes (set timer). First you need to play here for ten minutes and then mom will take you to the park/playground.
Always keep your end of the bargain immediately after your child has kept their end to maintain consistency and trust.
Another problem: Tissue in the mouth (aka, unacceptable item in mouth)
What child hasn’t chewed paper towel, toilet paper, facial tissues and random paper? My little gal takes after me in this respect as I used to make spit balls as a toddler and place them in little piles. My problem is that my daughter will chew the paper like chewing gum…and won’t spit it out into my hand when I ask her to. This non-compliant behavior could represent a safety issue somewhere else. It has to be handled correctly.
WARNING: If you introduce food as something ‘appropriate for the mouth’ to TRADE for the paper in the mouth you are establishing in the child’s mind the following: “If I have something bad in my mouth, mom will trade me some food for it. Therefore, all I have to do to get food is put something bad in my mouth.”
Here’s a script for a correct trade
Mom: “Would you like some apple (something appropriate in the mouth)? First I need you to take that out of your mouth and give it to me, then you can have the apple.”
Stay tuned for more!