[Learning-How-To-Learn Series] How To Increase Children’s Initiation In Daily Life: Toddlers
However, some parents or even teachers are so used to their child listening to them that they do not create opportunities for the child to think, make choices, and act independently. To avoid causing them to rely on adult’s directions in long run, we should start creating opportunities of initiation at home as soon as toddler years. The following are some recommendations:
- Turning a self-help routine as a collaborative task with your child. Although a child cannot be fully independent in self-help at a younger age, we can increase the child’s initiation, attention, and independence by reducing assistance partially. For example, when we help them to put on socks, we can just open and place the sock away from the toes, and then wait for the child to find where the sock is and put his foot into the sock. And we can apply the same idea in other routines, like brushing teeth, taking shower and dressing.
- Creating unexpected obstacles in routines and familiar activities. When a routine becomes a child’s habit, we can create minor problems in the routine to make a child think and try to figure what to say and what to do. Some simple examples are hiding one of his shoes away, not filling up his water bottle, putting his belongings in wrong places, etc.
- Giving less specific and novel daily instructions. Instead of saying ‘go put on your shoes’, say ‘get ready to leave’ or something new once in a while, to make a child guess and infer what he needs to do from your action and the context.
Although the above recommendations are easy to implement, it may not be easy for our children to respond because they are very used to clear and specific instructions being given throughout the day. It is advised to start with one or two routines that a child is most familiar with and most motivated to complete.
Information provided by Autism Partnership
Autism Partnership (AP) is one of the most established Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) service providers for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the world. Formed in 1994 in the United States, AP is run by professional clinicians and specializes in providing one-on-one therapy, group interventions and overseas consultation for children with ASD and their families.
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