Monday, April 23, 2012

Pavlov

Do you remember learning about Pavlov in your psych classes? You know the guy who conditioned dogs to salivate when they heard a bell ring. While he didn't come to his findings in the most humane ways he did make a breakthrough in behavioral science.

Conditioning means to train someone or something  to behave  in a certain way. This my friends has absolutely helped with Makenzie's tantrums. Although I didn't think of it at the time, the more I did it the more I remembered all that I learned in my childhood development classes. You see Makenzie is a creature of habit and thrives on schedules (she gets that from me). I started to make note of when her tantrums were occurring most frequently and found that it was often before, after or during a transition. So to help with this I started using my phone's timer to help her with transitions. I have always given Makenzie transitional warnings like, "Makenzie, we're going to go upstairs soon to take a bath." But to her that means nothing. Now I say, "Makenzie, I'm setting the timer for 5 minutes, when it goes off it's time to take a bath." She says, "okay" and the absolute second she hears the sound of the timer she drops what she's doing and does exactly what I had said we would do. I know that it is her personality that helps her thrive with this type of "conditioning" but it has drastically made the day go easier.

This is not to say that she doesn't still have random meltdowns where she is totally unreasonable but it has made specific triggers, like g out of the bath, much easier to deal with. Getting her out of the bath used to consist of her screaming and thrashing and a time-out to cool down but now it looks like this...


Sweet bliss. I'd love to hear some more tips on how you're dealing with tantrums.

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