Favorite Behavior Interventions
Take a peek at a sampling of some of our favorite behavior interventions and activities, designed to work for children and youth with an array of problem areas, including attachment problems, poor anger control, autism, poor motivation, defiance, Asperger's, abuse, and more.
These activities are perfect for both children and adolescents, make wonderful lessons for groups and classes, and provide the anger-reducers and bad behavior-busters you need.
Want a great activity for adolescents? Need a lesson about anger? Not sure how to help children manage the problems they face from child abuse or neglect? Regardless of your role with children, we have dynamic behavior interventions and resources that are designed to help you help your students.
Here is a tiny peek at our massive wealth of activities, lessons and interventions. Next to most of the sample activities show below, you'll find the source of additional, similar behavior interventions, so if you need more than the sampling, you will know where to turn.
Remember that we cover nearly any youth or child problem area, and that we have a vast array of resources to help. We can also help you locate the exact behavior interventions you need. You don't have to hunt around our huge site for answers; we can direct you to the specific resource that matches exactly what you need. All you have to do is pick up the phone or click with your mouse. We can help. Call us at 1.800.545.5736 or email us.
Favorite Behavior Interventions
A Behavior Intervention to Teach The Difference Between "Trying" and "Doing"
The next time a student says "I'll try" instead of "I will," throw a pen on the floor and ask the student to "try" and pick it up. Be sure you don't allow the child to actually pick it up– just to try.
The student will quickly experience and understand the big difference between doing and trying, and this understanding will quickly spread to other students who watch this exercise.
Find dozens more interventions like this in our Coping Skills Sampler book. It has a wide range of creative ideas to help students function better emotionally.
Offer an Anger Management Intervention
It can be tough to find ways to communicate lessons about anger to angry children and teens, but here's a fun, fast way to teach about a common anger scenario in many troubled, abusive, angry, hostile, or neglectful families.
So, for example, when a neglected child or teen gripes that their mom does this or that, and it makes them mad, so they yell at her, teach the child or adolescent about the bickerbacks. That is what happens when one person bickers, and the other bickers back.
Show how it takes two to bickerback, but if the second person doesn't bicker, the bickering may more quickly stop. Teach this lesson: to stop bickering, don't bicker back.
An Intervention Help Students Realistically Evaluate Their Need for School or Counseling
When a student says that they're ready to be on their own, ask them to take a very brief quiz to evaluate their readiness. The quiz is called "Are You Ready for a Typical Day as An Adult?"
The quiz asks questions such as "Your car breaks down on the way to work. What is the first thing you do?" Few youth will say "Call the boss."
They can score themselves from "Ready for Independence" to "Don't Leave Home Without More Education."
The full quiz is really quite provocative and compelling. You will find it in our Ready, Set, Go for Independent Living book.
An Intervention Activity with Help for Family Problems
Many children seem excessively dramatic in how they conduct themselves. Those of you who recognize the terms "borderline personality" and "attachment disorder," may see a lot of this chaos and drama.
To help reduce the extreme fighting and commotion in families, teach the family to under-escalate. That means that the louder the child gets, the softer and slower everyone else should speak.
Normally, people get louder and talk faster when someone is upset, but under-escalation is just the opposite of that. When others get loud, the upset child gets louder and more upset too.
With under-escalation, the child may begin to de-escalate, at least a little. This is a good technique for thought disorders, children in crisis, anxious, hyper-sensitive adolescents, hyperactive, ADHD, combative, verbally abusive and angry children and youth too.
Be sure to talk s-l-o-w-l-y even though your adrenalin may be racing. This is good information to pass to families. Find more in our A Child's Guide to a Troubled Family.
An Intervention Activity to Help Students Appreciate the Importance of Rules
Ask students to play Tic Tac Toe without any rules. Offer a big prize to the winner. The students will quickly discover they can't play games without rules.
Now, repeat in your classroom or group room by allowing a student to assume the role of teacher in a class without rules. Distribute food, radios, etc. and allow the students to involve themselves in problem behaviors while the role-play teacher attempts to teach in this class without rules.
The role-play teacher will soon demand and make rules. Your students will have crafted and requested the rules you end up using to manage your classroom. Instead of fighting these rules, they will have created and feel ownership of these guidelines.
An Intervention to Help Students Manage Serious Family Problems
Students may have little energy for their school or work site when family problems overwhelm them. Have these youth sort their problems into "Things I Can Change" and "Things I Can't."
Initially, many youth may claim to be able to change family problems like drinking and hitting. Inform students no one can change anyone else, just their own self, then have them re-sort their problems. Many problems should shift from "Things I Can Change" to "Things I Can't," freeing more energy for school or work.
Counseling for the family problems should also be offered. Even our posters offer you interventions that can help. Poster #28 is a great example.
For children who are completely dismayed by their circumstances, you can consider teaching them to "bloom where they're planted." The perfect follow-up: have the child illustrate the concept using art, poetry or other media.
An Intervention to Assist Students to Make Good Decisions
Use this behavior intervention device during times when another public figure has been caught in illegal or immoral behavior. Before the child engages in a problematic behavior (or after the child has done a problematic behavior), ask "Aren't you smarter than a governor…president…senator?" (Just insert the title of the most recently disgraced public figure.)
This intervention will usually get you a big grin from the child, and may also get the child thinking.
Or, to help students make good decisions, try a passive intervention like one of our most popular posters, Poster #31, shown here. This poster may be able to accomplish more than mere words can. It can actually put your walls to work. The poster may gnaw at the child while you think the youngster is just staring into space. What's really happening is a non-verbal approach is creating change when mere verbiage can't.
An Intervention to Help Students Build Motivation for School
It can seem like nearly every child– whether facing a thought disorder, Asperger's, family crises, attachment problems, ADHD, apathy, or facing hardly any barriers and challenges at all– thinks that school is pretty unimportant, and that only nerds do well or care about school.
Here is a very quick and fun intervention that works with so many different children and youth that it may work well with your students. This intervention is said as a joke. Say to the unmotivated, apathetic child: "What do you call a nerd in 20 years?" Answer: "Boss."
If you like this intervention, we have many more lively, engaging methods to build motivation and enthusiasm for school. Some of our most compelling techniques are in our Turn On the Turned-Off Student book.