Many children don’t understand why they must stop playing with their toys and often it is helpful to parents if they keep themselves occupied. It’s just those days when you need to leave the house to get to a doctor’s appointment, or when it is someone else’s turn to choose a TV programme to watch that can be a struggle.
When you think about the course of a day, a child can be asked to stop doing something they are enjoying before eating a meal, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, having a bath etc. Asking them to leave that fun activity to do a chore is always going to be met with reluctance.
Teaching a child to accept that sometimes we have to leave something fun, if only for a while, without having a battle is an essential part of family life.
Some tips that you can use at home to help:
1. When an activity ends, offer a preferred item as an alternative to play with, so that ending becomes a positive experience - “when I finish playing with that, I get something even better!”
2. Practice activities coming to an end, and then immediately giving it straight back when it is successful - “If I give it back when I am asked, I might get it back again”
3. Avoid asking the child to do something when a motivating item has finished, so they aren’t dealing with things coming to an end AND instructions being placed -
4. Warn the child that the activity will be coming to an end. This might be by counting down from a number up to 5
5. Start with items that are less preferred when you start practicing, to make the rate of success as high as possible
As with all ABA programmes, strategies for individual children vary, but these tips should help get you started. If you are unsure of any of them, or would like a few more tips, get in touch. We are always happy to discuss what we have written and answer any questions.