Modifying the Environment
Eight Ways to Modify Your Children's Environment
[Cartoon: Children doing activities in appropriate parts of the house]

Environmental modification is defined as changes you make in your children's world that make it easier for them to achieve success or avoid problems. It promotes your children's learning, growth, and self-control.

Here are eight ways to modify your children's environment to help insure success:

  1. Organize: Create structure for objects and activities. Let your children know where you want them to put their toys, bicycle, books, and clothes. Have a location where the shopping list is kept, and a place for all phone messages.[Cartoon: Children baking cookies]
  2. Enrich: Bored children can be troublesome children. Provide them with interesting things to do such as puzzles, games, and fun tasks like baking cookies. Allow them to do as they please (when reasonable) at certain times and places, like having water balloon fights in the back yard or playing their music after school.
  3. Impoverish: Remove the source of stimulation or irritation that is causing problems. Don't play energetic games with your children just before bedtime. Try to avoid having them start a ball game or an interesting TV show just as dinner is about to begin.
  4. Simplify: Make the environment less complicated. Have plastic dishes for small children on shelves at their level. Provide food children can easily prepare for themselves. Provide a stool for small children to wash their hands.
  5. Restrict: Define special areas for certain activities. You can set these up in advance to help your children succeed instead of waiting for problems to develop. They can wrestle in the yard, do homework in the kitchen, nap in their bedroom, and fix their bicycles in the garage. Similarly, certain objects can be restricted to special places. Power tools are used in the shop, cooking utensils stay in the kitchen, and the comforter belongs in the bedroom.
  6. Substitute: Replace unacceptable items with acceptable ones. When you take the matches out of the pup tent, give them a flashlight. If they are making mud pies with a glass bowl, give them a plastic bucket.
  7. [Cartoon: Mom locking away dangerous tools]Child-proof: Move unsafe items like guns, sharp tools, medicines, and cleaning products to locked closets or cabinets and put the key where the children can't find it. Provide them with safe items such as unbreakable cups, safe toys, and flame-retardant clothing. Make your home safer by using approved accordion gates, turning pan handles out of reach, locking doors, and covering electrical outlets.
  8. Adolescent-proof: Adolescents need special care, as they can be very clever at finding and getting into things. Remove or secure inappropriate, dangerous, or tempting objects that might be attractive to adolescents or appeal to their developing independence. Remove or secure alcohol, prescription drugs, car keys, money and credit cards. Weapons and ammunition should be locked up in separate locations with keys well hidden. Do not leave watches and wedding rings out after bathing or doing dishes

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