Get The Ball Rolling With Behavioural Momentum

June 21, 2022




Have you noticed your child break down about an activity or homework question that you know they are able to do? Or have you tried to teach your kids to do something new and they seem unable to cope as you list out the instructions?

Sometimes even the simple task of getting your child to sit down can turn into a battle of wills, which often leaves parents or carers not knowing what to do during a tantrum or meltdown. 

Enter: behavioural momentum.  

What is Behavioural Momentum? 

If you have ever heard of the saying ‘get the ball rolling’, this would do well to encapsulate what behavioural momentum strives to achieve. 

It is basically a strategy which focuses on motivation and involves quickly introducing a small number of seemingly easy, low-effort tasks before approaching the harder, high-effort task which needs to be completed. 

The concept attempts to improve compliance by building up momentum while easy tasks are completed. This, alongside positive reinforcement and praise in the lead up to the more difficult task, will make achieving the end goal (what you actually want your child to do) more successful. 

When do I use Behavioural Momentum? 

This strategy is most effective used before any difficult or high-effort task you want a child to complete, but it can also be used to regain attention and increase motivation.  

Examples of behavioural momentum 

A very common example of behavioural momentum in action is a set of three easier tasks in the lead up to the fourth task, which is what you really want the child to do.  

For example, if you want your child to sit down you could try the following: 

  • Tell your child to clap their hands and then praise them for doing so. 
  • Tell your child to touch their nose and praise them again. 
  • Say ‘Give me a high five’ and then say thank you. 
  • Tell them to sit down and then say thank you and praise them for being so well behaved. 

It’s all about approaching the harder task with some creative and easy steps to build up that momentum before the harder task.  

Some extra tips when using behavioural momentum 

  • It can be helpful to brainstorm a large number of quick and easy tasks to ask your child to complete in the run up to a more difficult task. This can be very helpful so you are not put on the spot in these situations. 
  • Praise after these easy tasks can be verbal (e.g., ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’) or gestures such as a high five, thumbs up or clapping. 
  • Asking for the more difficult task to be completed needs to occur as soon as the last easy task has finished and you have praised your child.  
  • Always start when your child is calm. If they appear to get agitated, then stop and try again more slowly. 

How Kameleon Group Can Help

No matter how much your child may be struggling with daily tasks, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. At Kameleon Group, we believe that with the right support, your child will flourish and strongly benefit from the time and care given to your child by our staff. 

If you want help with how to effectively use behavioural momentum strategies, or even want to brainstorm some easy tasks to use in the process, please get in touch with our knowledgeable and friendly staff today. We also offer staff training and consultation for schools on behavioural management and provide effective strategies and programs are put in place.

Post by Peter Bentham

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