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Want to Help Your Child Learn? Use Prompting.

Published on
June 14, 2019

Is your child frustrated by not being able to complete tasks on their own? Do you feel helpless because you don't know what to do to support them? Every child learns in different ways, and prompting can be tailored to meet your child at their level to help them succeed and build independence!

Have you ever felt that you were at a loss when it comes to helping your child complete a task, whether it is homework or a chore at home? Are you overwhelmed by the feeling of wanting to help, but not being sure what the best way is? Have you tried being patient and giving it some time, only to see no changes? Prompting may be the answer!  

When using prompting, different types of hints are given to the learner before or during an activity or task. The goal behind prompting is to provide as much support as your child needs to complete a task, and eventually cutting back on the support you are providing once your child becomes more independent with the task. You could do this with any tasks your child participates in, as prompts can be customized and tailored to fit any situation. For example, if your child is completing a homework assignment and is instructed to, “circle the duck”, you could tap on the duck so that your child is able to successfully complete the task. Or, if you and your child see a butterfly at the playground for the first time and you ask, “what is that?”, you could make the “buh” sound, allowing your child to complete the word and say “butterfly”. This is prompting!  

The Most Important Part of Prompting – Motivation!

Most people tend to learn better when they are motivated to do so. Each time your child gets a correct response when you have given them a prompt, make sure that you are providing rewards and praise. These rewards look different for every child – they could be a high-five, a trip to the park, or an ice cream cone – so make sure you tailor it to their interests! By getting a reward after completing a task correctly, they are more likely to continue to work towards providing correct responses in the future! Once you have learned what your child is motivated by, make sure to share this information with other family members as well as your child’s teacher and therapists. This will help your child learn in other settings!

As parents, teachers, or therapists, we all love to see children learning new skills! Prompting is a huge part of how we can make this happen! We just need to keep it fun, engaging, and consistent!