Hi, I’m an Early Intervention ABA Supervisor in New York City. Today, I wanted to talk about how you can get your child to go to new environments that may be a little bit scary for them, like a doctor’s office or the grocery store or the dentist, places that they might not go on a daily basis, but they still need to go.
How to Prepare Your Child for a New Environment
So the first thing you want to do is you want to prepare. How can you do that?
Record videos and sounds
The best way in today’s day with all the technology is to take pictures of the places that you’re going. Also, everyone has a phone that records videos, go record some videos of what it sounds like inside, what it looks like. So you can play those videos daily for your kids to hear and get used to the things that they’re going to encounter in these situations.
Take your child for a walk
I also recommend that you do take your baby or your child out for a walk, so they can walk past the outside of the building and slowly get comfortable with seeing it also in person. This will really help ease them into the situation of going to visit the doctor or going in to see the dentist or even going grocery shopping because that could be difficult. There’s so many snacks around that they’ll probably want to grab.
Give them choices
The second thing you want to do is you want to provide choices for them. So I always recommend that you have a little emergency kit with their favorite toys, their favorite snacks. So you can make some sensory toys for them, so that they can keep their minds and their hands busy and focus on things that they really like and forget about the things that may be a little bit scarier that they’re experiencing.
Reinforce good bahvior
You always want to remember that you have to reinforce good behaviors. So while you’re practicing these skills, you want to provide a lot of reinforcement or little seconds with their favorite toys while they’re practicing these skills. That’ll help them increase their behavior when they are actually in these situations. Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce, it’s the best thing that you can do. Reinforce with tickles, with bubbles, with high fives, even a smile could be reinforcing for a child and make that scary environment a lot more happier because they can see that mom or dad or their big sister is happy, and that’ll make them want to be happy and make you happier.