Julia A. Trebing, Psy.D., IBCPT- Professor., AAETS – Diplomate

20 Applebee Road, Stamford, CT 06905

(203) 324-5556



single request

small task

stay close

stand firm (insist)

see it through (follow through)

1. “__________”

  1. Say his/her name one time
  2. Then with no repetition be quiet
  3. Be calm and wait for eye contact
  4. Reinforce by smiling when you get it

2. “Please _________________________________________________________.”

  1. Make directive(s) (not questions, no options) one sentence or less, sometimes a single word such as “Dinner” or “Teeth” is all that is necessary.
  2. Be specific, and request one direction at a time (break down into the smallest parts).
  3. Use non-verbal language such as gestures to increase understanding.
  4. If you do not get the requested response say, “What did I tell you to do?” This requires the child to process rather than tune out your repetitive requests.
  5. A child may respond to “What did I tell you to do?” by simply doing what was requested. If not we will now be able to gather information such as whether the difficulty is behavior, hearing or processing.
  6. If it is a behavior challenge you may chose to: say “That’s one” if you are using the 1-2-3 Magic Technique (see separate hand-out/video). Or you can gently assist him/her by the hand or by picking up a younger child. Simply moving towards your child with the intention of assisting can result in your request being followed.
  7. You are developing the discipline of meaning what you say. Your child is learning the important life skill of listening and following instructions.

3. “Thank-you, followed by a positive, upbeat, reflection such as “you did that the first time I asked” is said when he/she has done what you told him/her to do.

  1. Use genuine enthusiasm and reinforce with your approval, tone, smile, high five, hug.
  2. Avoid the tendency to complain about any aspects you did not like (ignore to extinct)
  3. Avoid non-descriptive words such as “good” and “nice.”
  4. Be specific about what you liked based on what you want more of (focus on to reinforce).
  5. Remember, you will get more of whatever you put your attention/energy on so focus on positive traits such as eye contact, manners, and speed.

Be silent in between steps.

Be within a maximum of three feet from your child. This close proximity is paramount to your ability to follow through and be successful with this technique.

Practice daily, three times in a row, playfully requesting more and more challenging skills, such as by requesting one then two then three behaviors before child begins.

Your consistency and follow-through are key to the success of this technique.


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