One of You is Going Outside

Or Maybe Both

Growing up in a family of five kids on our farm in Illinois,

I remember many times my parents would say:

“If you are going to wrassel, go do it outside”, and then throw us out of the house.

Circle of Life interventions, I think.

Sometimes John is too rough with Spike, our beagle.

I have sometimes put Spike outside, when it really isn’t his fault at all.

Or sometimes John has earned a time out in the bathroom.

Anyway, I got a new idea this last time when John made a poor decision to rough-house with Spike a bit too much.

I put John outside.

In the dark.

Out the back door.

And I told him he could come back inside when he was ready to make a good choice.

We have been working on vocabulary and nuance with John a long time on how to “make a good choice”.

I have modeled (demonstrated) and described (words) what a good choice could be, in a variety of circumstances.

I am trying to build a broad range of understanding (we call it “far transfer”).

Not just a list of specifics, but a deep and wide application of understanding.

Anyway, back to the little boy on the other side of the back door.

(Please keep in mind we have been working for years on his being a boomerang, with an ever-lengthening tether.

And there are many benefits of being outside:

playground (glorified swing set) in the backyard, lots of mid-line crossover and gross motor activities.)

Anyway, it took just two trips outside to make a dent.

Several days ago.

And, of course, he tested the boundary again.

I only had to offer that consequence, and John made a good choice immediately.

So, effective learning with some long-term memory involved.

(We have been working on the backward-chaining of this intervention for a long time.)

I wish I could tell you one day and done.

However, the next day, again John was too loud and not willing to sit down and work on his list.

Seeing if Mom will love him enough to hold the boundary.

John and the dog earned “out the door and come back when you can make a good choice”.

We tried variations of unlocked and locked back door.

John even made a run around the house, and knocked on the front door.

So, creative problem solving and practicing executive function, right?

So maybe this can help in your house, and be sure to hold those boundaries!

Peace be with us,



I am a mom of learning differences, an educator and a former corporate warrior. I help you understand what to do to help your children with learning differences prepare for today so that they can be ready for life. I share with you all that I have learned. We always use a team to have fun and learn together.

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