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  • Writer's pictureLaKeshia Y. Wells, M.Psych, BCBA, LBA

Developing Autonomy: The Role of Contracting in Teaching Children Self-Management Skills

Are you a mom or dad searching for ways to support your child's development of vital life skills, like self-management and independence? Look no further than contracting. Yes, you read that correctly.



Contracting, the practice of assigning small tasks or responsibilities to your child, can serve as an effective method for teaching them the art of self-management. In today's fast-paced society, it is essential for children to acquire the ability to take control of their own lives and make responsible choices. By granting them the opportunity to handle duties such as budgeting, organizing schedules, and completing household chores, you are empowering them with the skills they need to become independent and capable individuals.


Understanding the Concept of Contracting

What is contracting exactly? When it comes to teaching children how to manage themselves, contracting involves assigning specific duties or obligations to your child. These tasks can vary depending on their age, abilities, and interests. For younger kids, it might be as simple as cleaning up their toys or making their bed. As they get older, the tasks can become more complex, like handling their allowance, organizing their schedules, or even taking on part-time jobs.


Contracting offers a structured framework for kids to learn and practice self-management skills. By establishing clear expectations, deadlines, and rewards, parents can help guide their children towards becoming more independent and responsible. It's important to note that contracting should be a collaborative process between parents and children so that they have a say in the tasks they take on. This sense of ownership and autonomy can further motivate kids in developing their self-management skills.


The Benefits of Using Contracting to Teach Self-Management Skills

Utilizing the technique of contracting to instruct self-management abilities presents a multitude of advantages for both parents and children. One key benefit is that it offers children the chance to engage in real-world scenarios and practice self-management within a secure and regulated setting. By gradually escalating the difficulty level of assigned tasks, parents can ensure that their children are faced with challenges while still experiencing success. This gradual progression enables children to develop their confidence and skills over time.

In addition, engaging in contracting offers parents the opportunity to distribute some of their responsibilities and collaborate with their children. This not only alleviates the burden on parents but also cultivates a sense of ownership and accountability in children. When children recognize that their contributions are valued and necessary, they are more inclined to approach their tasks with seriousness and develop a sense of accomplishment.


Furthermore, contracting imparts upon children the significance of being accountable for their actions and understanding consequences. By establishing clear expectations and implementing rewards or repercussions, children grasp that the choices they make have direct outcomes. This comprehension aids in the development of responsibility within them, empowering them to make wiser decisions in future situations. Contracting presents a structured framework for children to learn from their mistakes and evolve as individuals.


Conclusion: Empowering Children Through Contracting for Self-Management Skills

To sum up, utilizing contracting is a highly effective approach to teach children valuable self-management abilities. By assigning tasks, establishing clear expectations, and enforcing

accountability measures, parents empower their children to become independent and responsible individuals. The advantages of using contracting extend well beyond childhood as it prepares kids for the obstacles they will face in adulthood while instilling a sense of self-assurance and achievement. Through open and effective communication, consistent monitoring, and regular evaluation, parents can ensure the success of the contracting system.

So why delay?

Begin implementing contracting today and witness your child thrive as they cultivate essential self-management skills.

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