Setting Expectations

Setting Expectations
Setting expectations is letting your child know what behaviours are expected and what consequences are for meeting and not meeting the expectation. It increases compliance, ensures that the child was listening and models appropriate requesting. It can be verbal or written. It is important to set expectations to prevent serious behaviour from happening again, when changing responsibilities or transiting to another activity (explaining the consequences in the new responsibilities/activity) and when teaching new behaviour.

6 steps for setting expectations

  • Plan the time when you are both calm, away from the behaviour, giving yourselves enough time for the discussion
  • Pick a place that is quiet where you will not be interrupted and sort of neutral
  • Set a positive tone like praising the child for engaging in the expected behaviour in the past. Say something like;” I really liked how you packed your toys after use last night”
  • State the Expectation; Tell the child clearly what specific appropriate behaviour or skill you expect in a clam manner. “I expect you to or I want you to” and ask the child to restate the expectation “what behaviour do I expect from you”. If you need to ask the question again and again (the broken record approach) and prompt the child as much as necessary
  • State clearly the consequences of meeting and not meeting the expectation as appropriate to the situation as possible
  • Acknowledge and praise the child’s restatement such as; “good you understand what I want you to do” (Praise the child even he/she tells you with an attitude) Avoid arguing, lecturing or being sarcastic and return to the expectation.

These steps will help you to create a better outcome for your child and determine actions that you can take to achieve a high standard for appropriate behaviour/skills. As parents, we don’t need to water things down; we need to be firm, consistent, explore different strategies and encourage them to participate with their peers who are typically developing.


Setting expectation and the behaviour intervention plan

  • It guides the interactions and especially the consequences
  • The behaviour plan takes priority
  • Focus on the positive
  • Adjust the schedule of activities so that less preferred activity are followed immediately by preferred

“ you have to eat your green beans before you can eat your pudding”