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30 Preventive Strategies To Do Before A Behavior | Education to the Core


What’s one thing I can do for student behavior that I can see almost an immediate response? Incorporating quick and easy preventive strategies into your classroom or household!  Preventive strategies are put into place before the behavior occurs to prevent it from occurring at all.  Let’s face it, the best time to intervene on problem behavior is when the behavior is not occurring.   The following 30 Preventive Strategies can easily be incorporated into any classroom with your students or even in your daily home routine with your own children.  

Welcome Back!  This is the third post of six in this Behavioral Teacher series.  Check back to continue gaining knowledge and resources to add to your behavioral management skills.  When we are finished with this series you will be able to create an entire behavioral plan! In this blog, we begin to identify some strategies to implement based on what you identified as the priority behavior from What’s the Function?

In our last blog, Data Collection… More than Just ABCs, you were asked to collect information on your child’s or student’s behaviors so you can better understand WHY the behaviors are happening.  Did you see any patterns in the behavior?  Did it occur at a certain time of the day or with the same individuals?  Were you able to successfully identify the function of the behavior?  Was the child attempting to gain something or were they trying to avoid or escape an activity?   Let’s now begin to start building a plan… 


Why do we need to take the next step from a data collection sheet to a summary statement?  The summary statement pulls all of the information that you gathered into one statement and one place.  This will help you to understand and use the information you collected effectively. The statement will guide the development of your plan to decrease the behavior because it summarizes why the behavior is happening so you can choose an intervention to match the reason. 

Example:  “When my son sees me talk to my husband after work, he screams and runs around the room until I give him attention.”  To gain attention is the function so you want to make sure your plan includes providing attention in a more appropriate way.  


“During math class, when John is asked to complete a math worksheet he will throw the paper off his desk and run out the door.”  This summary statement it is informing us that John is attempting to avoid/escape the task of completing math worksheets, so our plan needs to address Math class and how to successfully allow John to practice some facts.


Preventive, Instructive, and Responsive strategies should all be included within a behavioral plan. We will use our knowledge of function and data collection that we have now and begin to create a plan together.  We will go into each category in more detail within upcoming blogs, but this blog will focus on preventive strategies. 

Preventive strategies are put into place before the behavior occurs to prevent it from occurring at all.  You are setting up the environment in advance of the behavior to reduce the chance that it will happen.  These strategies often involve making changes to the physical environment and focusing on some of the identified triggers you discovered while collecting data.  They are effective in reducing problems quickly and therefore you can possibly see an immediate reduction in some cases. 


TO GAIN ATTENTION – Preventive Strategies

TO GAIN AN ACTIVITY – Preventive Strategies

TO GAIN AN ITEM – Preventive Strategies

TO ESCAPE OR AVOID – Preventive Strategies

In an escape situation, the trigger is often a demand (ex., asked to pick up toys, sit in their seat, complete a worksheet).  Think about whether this demand can be eliminated or should it be modified?  This is based on your personal values, what you are able to tolerate and what you expect.  Decide whether the activity has to happen or not.  If the activity must occur then you can modify the demand.  If the activity is not necessary, then you may choose to eliminate the demand for now.

SENSORY – Preventive Strategies


This is an extensive list and could possibly seem overwhelming.  Where do you start? If we understand and know the triggers and behaviors…then we can change the environment and what we do so that it is more likely that the behavior will go away.  Based on the high priority behavior you choose from my first blog post: What’s the Function of Behavior?, you collected data based on the information from Data Collection…More than Just ABCs.  From this information, we should be able to see a pattern and what the function was.  Identify two to three strategies below the function above to try in your daily routines. 

Have you attempted some of these strategies in your classroom or home before?  Have you seen any improvement of behavior based on introducing these activities/interventions?  We would love to hear about them or feel free to share them in the comments below.  We will continue this conversation of behavior management and discuss in detail what you could do during the behavior, what to do after a behavior occurs as well as how to put it all together in one comprehensive plan.

Written by: Christopher Olson

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