Friday, January 22, 2010

TAGing Children


First you pick a tag point.

You say, "The tag point is lips closed while chewing."

You don't say, "Don't chew with your mouth open." or "Is your mouth open with food in your mouth?"

When the lips close you click, or say good or yes or nice, and pass over a token or MM or skittle or something.

Other than that, you ignor the open mouth with the food hanging out.


You don't tell the kid what you are tagging. You wait for it.

My kidlet, age 7, was slow to get out of bed in the morning. I've shaped her to put her feet on the foot as soon as I wake her up.

First I used a stop watch for a week to see how long it was taking her to get out of bed after my first request. I never gave a second one because I thought that she was just waiting for my second one. Some times she got up before I asked -if she had before school care and was in a hurry to go and play with her friends. The longest it took was six minutes.

For a week, I jack-potted her with three tokens if she got up without me asking and I gave her one token if it took her less that four minutes after my request. She got nothing if it took her more than four minutes.

For the next week, I jack-potted her with three tokens if she was up without my asking or if she put her feet on the floor as soon as I asked her to get up. I gave her one if she was out of bed in less than one minute.

For the next week, I gave her one token if she was up without my asking or if she put her feet on the floor as soon as I asked her to get up. She was not rewarded for anything else.

Now I randomly reward with tokens or candy when she gets right up or gets up before I ask.


Everyday I find at least three things to reward her for as does my spouse. Sometimes the kid gets tokens. Sometimes she gets quarters which are to her a higher reward as she uses them to buy fancy pencils out of the machine at school. Sometimes she gets candy - a rare treat at our house.

She used her tokens to buy prizes off of the prize table in our basement. I buy things that I know she will like (and want to earn) as I see them on sell. She can use use her tokens to go to the zoo, open swim, a movie, or open gym at the gymnastic school or to Chuckie Cheese. If she has earn enough in a week she can take a friend on the outing.

I find that I reward much more that I punish anymore.

Tag points don't include the words "You" or "I."
Correct: "Tag point is 'lips closed while chewing'."
Incorrect: "Tag point is 'close your lips when you chew'."

A tag point includes only one instruction:
Correct: "Lips closed while chewing."
Incorrect: "Lips closed with food inside mouth while chewing."

A tag point should ideally be five words or fewer (which will help prevent multiple tag points in a single tag).
Correct: "Lips closed while chewing."
Incorrect: "Lips are closed when eating at the table."


  1. The only problem I have with this particular example is that getting up can be dependant upon factors beyond the child's control, such as physiology. I used to be a jump out of bed and hit the ground running sort of a person. Now, I have medication I take to prevent migraines and I literally cannot get out of bed in the morning. This isn't a choice type of behaviour; this is something I have no control over. I think that twhen you are choosing tag points you need to remember one cardinal rule-choose points that the learner is able to do! In this case it would appear that the child is capable of making the choice-but I would never get the tag because of the medication I take. Setting up for success goes far beyond just using short sentences, choosing one tag point or not using I or You in your instructions.

  2. This is an example of how TAGing was used to fix an issue at MY house. Your plan will be different and will be set for an issue at YOUR house.

  3. Love it!

    Do you discuss the higher criteria when you're shaping the kidlet, or do you just let her figure it out? Does she ever seem frustrated that an action that used to earn her a tag doesn't any more?

  4. I let her figure it out. If I am doing pure TAGing, I tell her the TAG points. AND sometimes she tells me what she would like the tag point to be.