Backwards Chaining

Backwards Chaining

Everyone should know about this because it's a total game changer. Therapists use a concept called 'backwards chaining' all the time to help children to learn new skills. You basically teach a child all the steps of a task BACKWARDS from the last step to the first step. Sounds crazy right?! Yep. But it's proven in many cases to help kids learn skills quicker.

Why does it work?!
There's a lot of steps involved in everything. For example, putting pj's on involves getting the pj's, taking all your other clothes off, putting the left leg in, putting the right leg in, pulling the bottoms up, putting your head in or both arms then pulling up a zip. Exhausting! And if you left your child to do all of it they'd give up. Or if you taught them the first step and they could do it successfully then they realised they couldn't do all of the rest of it, they'd feel frustrated and defeated. If you INSTEAD teach them how to successfully do the last step, they finish the job by themselves and feel all the success . This makes them motivated to do their part and that good feeling of finishing the job makes them want to learn more!!

How to:
Think of a task you'd like to teach your little one to take a part in. We do this for lots of self care stuff like washing hands, getting dressed, putting things away etc. Think of all the steps it takes to do your chosen activity, then teach your little one to do the very last step. This video shows August doing his pj zip up and celebrating at the end. That's his job and he loves it!
Once your child has mastered the last step and is consistently doing it independently, teach them the second to last step and help them to do the two last steps on their own. So for this activity I'll teach August to scoop his arms into his onesie.

Have you used backwards chaining before? Feel free to ask me about it!

Watch the video here

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