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Consequence for Problem Behavior

Response Cost

Time for a preferred activity is embedded into the student's schedule. This is additional time, not something they already have, such as recess. The activity must be something motivating to the student, and this must be the only time the student gets it. Examples include: extra recess, time with a preferred peer, time with a preferred adult, iPad/tablet time, time playing a preferred game. Students then lose small increments of time when displaying a specific problem behavior (such as aggression).

Steps for Response Cost:

  1. Determine the problem behavior and replacement behaviors. (Example problem behavior: Aggression)
  2. Determine the activity (remember, it must be motivating to the student), the time(s) of day (right before lunch and right before the end of the day are ideal), and the adult that will supervise.
  3. Create the response cost using small increments of time. You may choose to make it so the student can lose all of their time, or you may choose to leave it so the student always gets a few minutes, at minimum.

In this example, the student has 15 minutes total. As you can see, the chart only goes to 12:59, meaning the student will always earn at least 2 minutes of reward time.

Some students, particularly those in younger grades, may not have a full understanding of time, and what ‘losing time’ means. If this is the case, students can instead lose choices from their reward time. For example, the student may have 10 minutes of reward time, twice per day. During this time, they have access to a certain number of items that they can use. Each time the problem behavior is displayed, they lose access to one item. It is important that the most motivating item is the last one to be lost.


Planned Ignoring

Best used for minor problem behaviors (swearing, talk outs, etc) that are primarily attention driven. “Where attention goes, behavior grows”

When the student displays the problem behavior (Example: talk outs), the behavior is ignored. All reinforcement is removed. It is important though, that when the student displays the appropriate replacement behavior (example: raising hand), that the student is given attention and reinforcement.

*Not appropriate for aggressive behaviors

Time Out of an Object

Typically, this strategy is used for younger students (up to 4th grade). It is done by choosing an object that the student likes (a favorite toy/book, or a point card) to put in ‘Time Out’ when a specific problem behavior is displayed.

Steps for Implementing Time Out of an Object:

  1. Designate a space in the classroom that can be used as an “Object Time Out” area (i.e. on top of a shelf or cabinet).
  2. Select an object that is reinforcing or motivating to the student. This may include a favorite book, a point card (stand alone or on a lanyard), a hat, or a stuffed animal.
  3. If the student engages in the (predetermined) problem behavior, the object is placed in Time Out for a period of time (3 to 5 minutes).
  4. At the conclusion of Time Out, the student is allowed to retrieve the object.