You must make sure that the new communication strategy you've taught your child is as effective as the old one. If screaming or repetitive complaining is more effective than saying "I want to finish this video" or holding up a break card, your child will have little motivation to use the new strategy. Whenever possible, immediately reward your child for using the appropriate communication, first by praising him or her ("I'm glad you're using your new words") and then by "honoring the communication" and making sure the natural positive consequences occur:
• When your child requests help, immediately assist him or her.
• If your child asks to leave a situation, provide him or her with a break right away.
• If your child asks for your attention, stop what you're doing and provide some time, interest in, and engagement with him or her.
Your child will learn that these new, appropriate behaviors are just as effective or even more effective in meeting his or her needs than the challenging behaviors you are trying to reduce.
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