Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kids do well more often than we think

I remember being in a seminar once when I worked for county government in South Carolina. It was about time management.

They talked about how some companies had their employees wear beepers or timers. Every time the timer went off, they had to record in a book what they were doing. It could be set for every hour, half hour, 5 minutes, whatever.

The employees - and bosses, I'm sure - were surprised at how much time was spent on personal stuff: phone calls, bathroom breaks, eating, gossiping, zoning out.

I recently read about something similar called the MotivAider at A Mom's View of ADHD blog. The idea is the same. A parent or teacher with a child who presents unique challenges wears a beeper/timer. It goes off and they record what the child is doing.

The beautiful thing is, they learn more often than not the child is doing well and making good choices. It is easy to get hyper-focused on bad choices and miss the majority of behavior. If you are "catching" them doing well, that reinforcement will improve future behavior. If one only responds to misbehavior, well, where's the motivation to do better?

If you have a child who requires more - attention, creativity, thought, guidance, whatever - see if you can't do something similar in your home. Set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes. See what he or she is doing. If more often than not, it is the right thing, then see that there is hope, things are not as bad as they seem, that they are trying and improving.

I think this is a good idea all around. And maybe even for the kid so HE can see that he's capable of doing well too.

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