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

Steps to Create a Contracting System for Children

Creating a contracting system for children involves several steps that can help establish clear expectations and responsibilities.

STEP 1 - Identify appropriate tasks or duties that match the child's age, skills, and areas of interest

It is important to strike a balance between challenging them and ensuring their success. This can be done by considering their developmental stage and what they are capable of handling. For example, younger children may be responsible for simple chores like putting away toys or setting the table, while older children can take on more complex tasks like doing laundry or mowing the lawn.

STEP 2 - Establish clear expectations and guidelines

This includes clearly defining what needs to be done, when it needs to be completed, and any specific requirements or standards. For example, if a child is responsible for doing laundry, you can specify that they need to sort the clothes by color, use the appropriate settings on the washing machine, and fold and put away the clean clothes. By setting clear guidelines, children know exactly what is expected of them and can work towards meeting those expectations.

STEP 3 - Involve your children in the process.

This means giving them a say in what tasks they would like to take on and how they would like to complete them. By involving them in decision-making, children feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their tasks. This can also help them develop problem-solving skills and learn how to make decisions independently.

STEP 4 - Feedback and reinforcement

This involves acknowledging and praising their efforts when they complete their tasks successfully. It is important to provide specific feedback that highlights what they did well and how it contributed to the overall household or family. This positive reinforcement helps motivate children and encourages them to continue taking on responsibilities.

STEP 5 - Ongoing Review & Maintenance

As children grow and develop, their abilities and interests may change. It is important to reassess the tasks assigned to them and make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, it may be helpful to have regular check-ins or meetings to discuss how things are going and address any concerns or issues that may arise.

Remember, creating a contracting system for children involves several steps that can help establish clear expectations and responsibilities. By identifying suitable tasks, setting clear guidelines, involving children in decision-making, providing feedback and reinforcement, and regularly reviewing and updating the system, parents can create a system that promotes responsibility, independence, and growth in their children.

How Contracting Can Teach Self-Management Skills to Children
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