Behavioral Contracting

Additional Suggestions and Considerations

  1. Initially, design the behavioral contract to be short term (e.g., two, three, or five days, depending on the age and social maturity of the child. As the child's behavior improves, gradually increase the length of time involved in the behavioral contract.

  2. Design the contract so that the standard of "acceptable" disruptive behavior is within reach of the child's current behavioral level. As the child's behavior improves, gradually decrease the amount of "acceptable" disruptive behavior required of the child to meet his or her obligations under the contract.

  3. Involve parents when possible by allowing them to provide some (or all) of the incentives for the behavioral contract. This is called home-based reinforcement, and you will need to communicate with the parents regularly regarding their child's meeting (or not meeting) the obligations of the contract, so that they can provide (or not provide) the incentives.

  4. If peer reinforcement is the motivating factor behind the child's disruptive behavior, consider a group-designed behavioral contract. This would involve incentives for the group that are conditional upon the group's performance on the contract.

  5. If this technique is successful, continue with the strategy. If not, try another strategy.
Behavioral Contracting technique

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.


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