Here in New York City the summer is just around the corner and everyone wants to be out in the sunshine. Parents and teachers alike are looking forward to a more flexible daily structure when summer break hits.
Many, many families are thinking they’d like to take a break from improving behavior during the summer. “There are so many fun activities planned that I know he’ll do better,” seems to be a popular line of thought.
Alert! You’ll be sorry in September if you drop your behavior plan now!
Recently, I’ve had some interesting conversations with families on this topic. One of my main responsibilities to families in my private practice is to keep parents on track to achieve their behavior goals, so I’m always upfront about what stopping progress in the summer means: trouble!
One common point of apprehension is how boring behavior change is. While behavior is always interesting to me, I can see why people might say this. Behavior change takes repetition and consistency; doing the same strategy over and over again until a small being gets it. That’s not the most glamorous way to spend your time, but it works!
Think about it: When things are very stressful during the school year, do you want to deal with behavior problems on top of everything else?
Summertime presents many temptations for shirking all responsibility and choosing the easy way out. Consistency is not always the easy route, but it’s the most important thing you can do for your small beings right now.
Here’s the question I ask families when they say behavior change is boring and that they’d rather take a break during the summer: Do you want it to be easy for the next two months or do you want it to be easy for the next 10 years?
Do the work today. Remain consistent. Keep up with the boring plan and in a few weeks or a few months (depending on the behavior) you will see results. Keep the behavior plan in place for longer than you'd like and you'll ensure that the behavior has changed for good. Then it will be easy for the next 10 years.
The choice is yours!
Insight Into Action
Parents: What is one behavior you would like to focus on in the summer?
Teachers: How can you improve your interactions with small beings over the summer?
Feedback? Thoughts? Comments? Leave 'um below or email me at: Info@BehaviorAndBeyond.net.
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