Thoughts from The Behavior Momma: A Different Kind of BIP
For my B-Mommas: Think of this as another fun way to connect with your kiddos about behavior.
For my BCBA-Mommas: Think of this is a social story turned BIP turned whatever/it worked.
Super Speedy Snapshot
The story is set up in a preschool classroom setting. Llama Llama is having fun in class with his friends. Gilroy Goat is in his class and starts to make fun of Llama Llama and his friends. The teacher steps in and tells him that “calling names is not OK”. Gilroy gets it and goes about his merry way. Then he’s at it again – messing with his friends’ toys, calling names, throwing tantrums – identifying him a as bully goat. Llama Llama tells him to stop or they can’t play. The author adds that one should walk away and tell someone if they are being bullied. The teacher talks to Gilroy and has him sit out from recess. After he sits out, the teachers asks him to try again and this time, Gilroy Goat plays nicely with his friends.
The Real Story
My son was a milder Gilroy Goat in his 3-year-old classroom. I rarely saw it at home, but I heard Gilroy-type behaviors described to me from his teachers when I would pick him up from school. I thought my son, a bully?? He’s so sweet and loving! No one called him that, but these behaviors were not appropriate or tolerated. Just because I didn’t seem them didn’t mean they weren’t happening. I’m a behavior analyst and I work with children with developmental disabilities. When I help my therapy kiddos, I write a behavior plan to help them decrease problem behaviors. Instead of expecting his teachers to run a behavior intervention plan, I found this book.
I love it because it is very behavioral in nature and “worked” like a behavior plan. Here’s how:
Step 1 (Identify the Problem): “Gilroy snickers, laughs and kicks. Gilroy tosses toys and sticks. Gilroy stomps on Llama’s coat, Gilroy is a bully goat” These are specific behaviors that are not good. Instead of saying “Gilroy was mad” or other abstract/non-specific terms for a young kiddo, the author labels the behaviors that are not OK and clearly illustrates it in the pages. This is important for little learners to associate these specific actions as things that friends DON’T do.
Step 2 (Identify the “Why”): Why do kids do what they do? That is the million dollar question. In this case, Gilroy wanted to play/attention from friends and wanted to play his way.
Step 3 (Identify the consequences): When a problem happens, there are consequences. In this case, his friends didn’t want to play with him and Gilroy had a chat about his behavior with the teacher and sat out from recess.
Step 4 (Identify the replacement for the problem): Instead of _____, we need our kiddo to ______. It’s not enough to have a consequence when the behavior happens. We also have to teach them what we want them to do instead. Gilroy is shown how to sing along with the class and play nicely. Again, I like how the author is specific about these replacement behaviors.
Step 5 (Set up rewards): We learned that Gilroy wanted to play with his friends, but didn’t have the right way to go about it. Now he learned how to play nicely and is “rewarded” by being invited to play with his friends again.
This book isn’t just for kiddos that are a little rough with their friends. It serves as a good example of how to teach being a good friend versus being a not so good friend. Now when I communicate with my son, I ask “Are you being a bully goat or a Llama Llama?” He understands the concept and is able to make a choice before we might have a problem behavior!
Another great resource if you are looking for books that are in alignment with your values is Addison Reads.