Behavior Support - Using Planned Ignoring at Home

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Planned ignoring, or extinction, is not paying attention to a problem behavior in order to decrease the behavior in the future. Your behavior support provider will teach you how to use planned ignoring. When you start to use planned ignoring to end a behavior, you need to keep doing it. To get started, you will need a plan and support from others. Having support from others will help if you get frustrated. It is important to remember that when using extinction, behavior will get worse before it gets better. Be patient.

What to Do

  • Use planned ignoring for undesired but harmless behavior. Do not use it for harmful behaviors such as hitting or biting.
  • When the problem behavior occurs, ignore the behavior.
  • Planned ignoring helps stop attention-seeking behaviors. Do not say anything or make eye contact with your child while the problem behavior is going on.
  • If your child wants an object and they do not ask for it in the way you taught them, ignore it.
  • If you child asks for something that is not available:
    • tell them they cannot have the item at that time
    • direct their attention to another activity
    • use planned ignoring if there are problem behaviors after the redirect
  • Do not give your child anything when they behave badly. For example, do not give tissues to the child if they are crying. Wait until the child is calm and the crying has stopped. Then you can hand them a tissue.
  • Do not make eye contact, facial expressions, or comments to others in response to the child’s problem behavior.
  • Do not react to your child’s problem behavior by changing the way you behave, your tone of voice, or the look on your face.

Behavior Support: Using Planned Ignoring at Home (PDF)

HH-IV-186 ©2017, revised 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital