Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Prompt with starter questions.

What you can do

Help your child do a task on her own by giving her a series of “starter questions” or brief instructions indicating what to do next. These starters will ease her frustration and help her begin to master each of the steps involved.

Think of these external aids as training wheels on a bike. Your child may need them to get comfortable with a new task or activity. But over time you can begin to remove some of these aids.

As you slowly start to take away the “training wheels,” encourage your child to describe the steps needed to complete the task. It’s also a good idea to get her to develop a plan for what to do if she realizes she needs help. Build your child’s confidence along the way by pointing out how she has successfully connected the series of prompts together to finish the task.

What you can say

“Wow, Sofia, what a cool origami pattern you picked out! That bird looks like it has a few more steps than the turtle you made yesterday. I’m glad you’re up for a new challenge! What are the steps that are different? Gotcha, yes, that step does look tricky.”

“I like how you’re following the instructions and checking back and forth with each fold. Hey, that looks like a diamond! This is exciting! I can’t wait to see how this bird turns out. I’m glad you made him blue.”

“I’ll be in the kitchen. Give me a holler if things get tricky. But from the looks of things, you might just go the distance on your own! Great job so far, Sofia!”

Why this will help

Kids with learning and attention issues often feel helpless when expected to perform a task on their own. Giving them a series of starters or “cues” will help them figure out how to approach the task and stay on track toward completing it. Starter questions will help them feel more capable of doing it on their own.

Recognizing and praising your child’s successes will help her develop the confidence to use problem-solving skills in other situations. It will also help her develop the self-awareness to know when she needs to ask for help.

175Found this helpful
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