“First we rake leaves, then hot chocolate.” This is the phrase I repeat all day, every day – First____, then____.

When you have a kiddo who struggles to stay on task or has anxiety or disability, first-then schedules become your new best friend. It can be written, spoken, or done with pictures and/or objects. Sometimes we use it for behavior support, such as when we think (or know) that an individual doesn’t want to do something we want (or need) them to do. In that case, we present the thing we want them to do in the “first” and the thing they want to do in the “then.”

The idea is to show them a preferred activity or a possible reinforcer to motivate them to complete the thing they don’t want to do. We use them proactively (before a problem) and when an individual refuses to complete a task.

Raking leaves WAS the original preferred activity this morning however, I spoke too soon regarding the impending deliciousness of hot chocolate and well, game over folks. Whenever there’s mention of chocolate this kid is ALL belly! And these cute espresso cups are the perfect size mug for little hands, and make him feel like a “grown-up mommy” sipping his well deserved #hotchocolate