Posted in Compliance

Crayons and Compliance

One of the top issues that parents want me to work on with their child is compliance.  Parents will tell me that their child will follow through with only 0-1 out of 10 directions on the first time asked.  How frustrating!  An easy activity for increasing compliance is coloring – so easy!  You can print free coloring pages online and use crayons/markers/colored pencils.

All you have to do is give them the direction to color a portion of the picture a certain color.  Then wait to see if they complete the steps to following directions (say “ok” and do the task).  EASY PEASY!  You can provide direct feedback and continue this until the entire picture is complete.  Direct feedback might sound like this: “you did a great job of coloring with the crayon I told you, but you forgot to say ‘ok.’ Next time I want to hear you say ‘ok’ first.”

Many kiddos will be completely compliant with this activity during the session because they like coloring and like it a whole lot more than being told to brush their teeth.  What I will do sometimes with kiddos is pick a coloring page of cartoon characters they know (Paw Patrol or Frozen, for example) and have them color characters the WRONG color.  I’m no expert on Paw Patrol, but I’m pretty sure the fire fighter dog is wearing red.  I get pretty strong reactions out of kiddos when I tell them to paint his hat purple and his sweater green.  That’s a great opportunity to teach to kiddos about expectations and listening.

Also, I’ve had parents do this activity with their child during family therapy sessions as well.  It’s all about the PRACTICE… if they can comply in my office, either with me or parents, then it makes it more likely that they will comply at home as well.