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Special Ed Teacher Tips to Try at Home (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 3, 2013

Keep Your Cool

If you do get into a behavior “situation” (think: public tantrum), breathe. “I tell teachers to breathe every time they hear the bell,” says McGrath. When you hear your child starting to get upset, take it as a cue to breathe. Then, give clear, calm directions and explain what will happen next. Your calm voice will tell your child that you’re in control.

Use Limited Choice

Instead of open-ended questions (What do you want?) give your kids two acceptable options to choose from (Would you like to drink from a pink cup or a blue one?).

Don’t Over-Invest

Save energy and pick your battles by treating energy like money, advises Giuliani. Decide which behaviors are worth $2 and which are worth $200 and you’ll deal with the behaviors that matter the most.

Use Punishment Effectively

Make sure that punishments aren’t too harsh or too long (one minute of “time out” for every year of a child’s age, for example). And, make sure you bring the punishment to a close with a debriefing so your child understands how to behave differently the next time.

Choose to Wait

Instead of dealing out consequences when you’re fuming, Giuliani and Pierangelo recommend waiting. Use this script to buy yourself some cool off time: "I am so angry now that I don't want to deal with this situation. Go to your room and I'll deal with you in 15 minutes."

Special education professionals know the tricks to keep kids like yours moving in the right direction. Use these tips, and you'll be tapping in to a lifetime of ready solutions that will make your life easier, and your child more successful at school and at home.

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