Behavioural techniques for use by enthusiastic professionals in primary care
Techniques that can be taught to parents of pre-school children include play, praise, tangible rewards, ignoring, distraction, holding and consequences. When teaching these techniques to parents, it is important to establish a collaborative relationship. Professionals may assume that all parents intuitively know how to play with their children. Make-believe is an important part of growing up, and play that involves fantasy can start as early as 18 months, progressing steadily into middle childhood, before it begins to disappear. It helps children to develop a variety of cognitive, emotional and social skills. Time out is shorthand for 'time out from positive social reinforcement'. The principle is that bad behaviour is often maintained by any form of social attention, which is rewarding for the child. Natural and logical consequences are a useful behavioural technique for children aged five years or over, as they give children more responsibility and help them to develop decision-making skills, independence and the ability to learn from mistakes.