What it is:
Planned ignoring is when you ignore misbehavior that the child is engaging in. It means deciding which part of the behavior can be ignored and having a plan to shape the positive behaviors. This works very well with behaviors that are attention or connection seeking. What does this look like? It could be whining, screaming, begging, interrupting, crying, or even shutting down. How do you know if it is attention seeking? See what happens when you give attention to the behavior. Does it increase or decrease? If it increases or gets more frequent, the chances are it is attention seeking. This tip helps you to remember that the goal is to ignore the behavior (yelling, screaming, crying, etc.) but not the child. It does not mean that you ignore them completely. Most attention seeking behaviors are actually connection seeking. This means that your child is wanting support from you in some way but does not have the ability to ask for it appropriately. When you ignore the child, the child will often increases their behaviors in a desperate attempt to get your attention or connection. This tip allows you to still be present with the child and redirect your attention to them while ignoring the yelling, screaming, or crying.
How to use it:
To use this strategy you need to identify what behaviors you are trying to shape in more positive ways. Let’s say that every time you give independent seatwork, your student raises their hand or asks for help right away. Not a horrible thing. But, you would like to develop their independence. You could avoid helping the student or tell them you won’t help them anymore. However, this probably won’t work to build independence. They will just learn to wait for your help or do more maladaptive behaviors like shouting or tearing up the work. This strategy would allow you to ignore them asking for help but still attend to them. You would have a plan that the next time you have independent seatwork, you will approach the student and say, “I know you can do this work. I really want to see how much you know. Please try these 3 items then raise your hand to show me.” This lets the student know you are not ignoring them and will talk to them after they have tried the problems on their own. This seeks to build the independence that you are hoping to shape.