Do you have a hard time taking your child places in the car?
Does your child make noises or flail about?
Do you feel nervous when you set out?
Would you like to concentrate on traffic instead of an agitated child?
Good car behavior is critical for the well-being of the family. Life is better when your child feels calm and happy in the car, and the family can go out and have a good time.
TAGteach is an excellent and easy way to build good car travel skills in small increments. With TAGteach, you “tag” a desired behavior of the child with an event marker signal (the “tagger”) and then “reinforce” (give a treat of the child’s liking). TAGteach allows the child to experience success for very small behaviors that eventually add up to a strong, complex behavior. Use the tag points below (and modify as necessary!) to teach your child to cooperate with getting into the car, and sitting calmly and quietly for the duration of the drive.
First small step: show that the car is a great place to be
Instead of taking an anxious child out in the car, start by showing the child that the car is just an object on the driveway. Park the car on the driveway and tag and reinforce the child every time she looks at or walks near the car. Here are some potential movements to tag:
- Child walks next to car, Tag and Reinforce.
- Child stands next to car, Tag and Reinforce.
- Child touches or opens car door, Tag and Reinforce.
- Child walks to another door, Tag and Reinforce.
- Child touches or opens another door, Tag and Reinforce.
- Child glances inside car, Tag and Reinforce.
Give the child as much time as she needs to become comfortable around the exterior of the car. Spend a few minutes several times a day working around the exterior of the car. Keep it up until your child is comfortable.