Behaveability Script

A huge thank you to all parents and carers who made it to our Parent Information Night last Wednesday. For those we were not able to make it, teachers have sent their information home to all families via email.

Children like consistency, predictability, routine, and clear expectations. At the parent night I explained how we manage behaviour and the script we use. A parent during the week shared with me that she had been using it since last week and said, ‘It is like using magic words, the kids just do what I ask’. While there is no magic, the script NEVER changes because we know the kids respond to consistency, predictability, and clear expectations.

If the instructions we give children are fair and reasonable, the instructions need to be followed. If they are not followed, we MUST follow through. When Ian Luscombe from Behaveability worked with us last year, he gave us the script and it works!

The script:

  1. Give the instruction (short & concise), say ‘thanks’ and turn/walk away.
  2. If the instruction is NOT followed…Repeat the instruction & say ‘my instruction is not changing’ and turn away.
  3. If the instruction is still not followed…Say ‘I am confused, I have given you an instruction & you are not following it. You have 5 seconds (make them short) to ………. or there will be a consequence. (There is no need to name the consequence). More often than not, the students will do what they have been asked at this step.
  4. If students remain non-compliant at school, the office is called. Students go to the office, discuss the behaviour and are returned to class where they apologise for not following the instruction and ask to re-enter the classroom.

The teacher thanks the student for their apology, welcomes them back and they follow the last instruction.

Sometimes while in the office we need to talk to children about the Line of Acceptable Behaviour. Children will often default to blaming others, denying their behaviour, and give many excuses for their choices. While we can understand their choices/reactions, we do not let them engage in below the line behaviours. If they don’t own their behaviour choices and take responsibility for them, their behaviour rarely changes.

Line of Acceptable Behaviour





Blame others


Make excuses

Our aim is for children to own their behaviour and follow the instruction that has been given. Following the last instruction is the critical step. At home, if you send children to a time-out area, once they come back, apologise to you, you must then get them to follow the instruction you gave.

This requires hard work initially. The children know the script from school and should respond quickly if you use it. The other critical step is to follow through on the consequence if you get to that stage. This also takes hard work, but it means you are consistent and predictable. Finally, ensure the consequence is something you are prepared to follow through on e.g., reduced iPad or TV time.

As adults, we should not negotiate instructions with children. They are masters at pushing our buttons and trying to negotiate a better deal for themselves. If you enter the ‘negotiation zone’, children start to spiral and will continue inappropriate behaviours until they have negotiated to get what they want. They will also increase the intensity of their behaviours because they know you will negotiate and not follow through.

Stay strong, stay firm, and stay consistent. Children are much calmer when we are consistent, predictable and have firm boundaries. Ian is returning to our school in week 7 and we look forward to continuing our work in this area.​