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Implementing PBIS Principles at Home


PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is a research based scientific approach that schools use to promote good behavior and a positive learning environment for students. It focuses on encouraging good behavior and actions rather than punishing negative behavior. To sum it up, it’s all about positive reinforcement. Parents can also implement PBIS principles at home to promote positive behavior.


Clearly defined expectations:

It is important to set clear rules and expectations for the students such as being respectful, and getting work completed. These expectations are communicated to students and whoever is working with them so that everyone is on the same page.

At home, parents can set clear rules and expectations with their children. They can involve their children in creating these rules so they feel ownership and take accountability in their behaviors.


Teaching desired behavior:

PBIS teaches and reinforces positive behaviors. For example, a student is working on a math worksheet independently. Twenty minutes into working, the student gets up and goes up to other students who are working and disrupts their work by talking to them. The teacher goes up to the student and asks if they need to take a break by going outside on a walk or to get a drink of water outside. The student says yes and takes a five minute break outside, then returns to the classroom where they resume working. Doing this increases the positive behavior (asking for a break when they need it while working) and decreases the behavior of disrupting other students working.

Parents can take the time to have conversations with their children to teach them how to behave appropriately. What would the parent do in their child’s shoes? Create a hypothetical scenario. Parents can be the positive role model to display the positive behaviors.


Recognizing and rewarding good behavior:

PBIS puts an emphasis on recognizing and rewarding good behavior. These could be through verbal praise, monetary or material rewards, or other incentives. By recognizing how well the student does, the student will feel encouraged to continue with their good behavior.

When recognizing and rewarding good behavior at home, parents can do as little as praising their children, giving a warm hug, high-five, or fist bump. They can also set up a token system where if a child completes their chores five days out of the week, they will get a reward like going out for their favorite treat.


Addressing challenging behavior:

PBIS addresses challenging behavior in a positive and supportive way rather than with harsh punishment. PBIS tries to understand the reasons behind why the student has that challenging behavior and implements the appropriate interventions to help students learn and improve. This could be through conversation or experimentation.

Addressing children’s challenging behavior could be tough for some parents but it is completely necessary to be able to have an open conversation on why the behavior is not appropriate. Parents should encourage children to express themselves and ensure that they are safe and they are heard.


Implementing PBIS at home requires patience, consistency, and flexibility. PBIS promotes positive behavior but it takes time, a lot of communication, and at times, failure. Which is why it is important to have an open mind and be flexible with children. By promoting positive behavior at home, children will feel they have a nurturing home environment that supports their development — socially and emotionally.


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