Monthly Archives: April 2020

Positive reinforcement helps keep kids motivated and happy

With kids being cooped up for weeks on end, emotions may be running high. When behavior problems arise that can be difficult for parents to deal with, it is always good to know which reinforcement strategies work best to keep your kids positive and happy.

Since different situations call for different reinforcers, it is always good to first assess the situation and then figure out which of the above strategies to put into play in order to help your child decrease behavior problems. Many times parents turn to primary reinforcers, which are snacks or favorite foods. Although this is a good way to start reinforcing behavioral changes, it is important to find different things your child is interested in so that increased amounts of junk food or snacks are not introduced into your child’s diet, which can create other problems down the line.

Take the time to find out what types of secondary positive reinforcers your child likes.

What are their hobbies? Are there specific games or toys they like to play with, etc. Also pay attention to things that may irritate your child and cause negative behaviors to come out; and try to either avoid these items or situations, or work with your child to help them become acclimated to them. Once you find reinforcers that work, make sure they are ONLY available to your child when working with them on behavior modification techniques. Allowing your children to have access to reinforcers all the time decreases the effects of the reinforcer until it no longer serves its purpose. By keeping it locked away and out of site, the reinforcer becomes a powerful tool for a parent.

Another great strategy to use to get your child to participate in activities they are not fond of, such as cleaning up, homework, therapy, etc., is it use what professionals call the Premack Principle. Simply stated the Premack Principle is a reinforcement strategy that places a preferred activity after a non-preferred activity. For example,” first you finish your homework and then we can play video games”. By enforcing this strategy in your home, your child learns that once they are finished doing what they have to do, they get to do something they like.

There are several ways to make reinforcers applicable and different ways will work for different people. By using various methods that you find helpful, you will be able to start working with your child on ways to modify their behavior and increase their tolerance for less preferred activities.

Toys that entertain and educate

Home schooling your child in the spectrum is no easy task, so we wanted to put together a few games and activities that are both fun and educational.

When considering what types of games your child will enjoy playing it which activities they will want to participate in, it’s important to keep in mind their developmental ability rather than their actual age so that you minimize frustration and maximize enjoyment. 

That being said, here are some toys, games and activities we think they will love.

Activities

Activity games such as therapy balls and hopper balls are a great way to allow your child to expend energy while getting a good workout. These activities improve balance, sensory integration and coordination skills. They are great for indoor and outdoor play and can be deflated and inflated for easy transportation.

Board Games

Board games such as Zingo and Apples to Apples are games that many children love. On top of recognizing or learning new images and increasing thinking skills they are also great tools to use when working on sharing, turn taking and following directions. These games are not only fun for your children, but can involve the whole family, making them perfect for expanding communication skills as well.

Sensory Toys

Sensory toys such as Kinetic Sand and Brain Food help your children with tactile exploration and with sensory processing difficulty. These sensory toys allow your children to relieve stress. They also help decrease stress level because your child can squeeze, mold and run their fingers through these toys.

Building Toys

Legos are a great way to improve social skills in children with autism. They are a perfect activity for an imaginative child to do on their own, and are also great to use in a group where your family is  required to interact and work with each other. Magna Tiles are also great for children on the spectrum because they allow you to use your imagination as well, and also shape math, tactile and special skills. Both can lead to hours of entertainment. 

Make the time you have at home with your child both educational and fun by incorporating toys, games and activities they will enjoy. All of these toys should be readily available for online purchase, and will not only be fun for your kids to play with, but will also help them improve many skills.