I Pinky Promise!


Submitted by: Emily Dale Garcia, BCBA

As a society, we utilize contracts in basically every environment and situation that one can think of. Anywhere from employee manuals, house mortgages, marriages, insurances agreements, doctors’ offices, etc., contracts have been used to explain the expectations and consequences of meeting (or not meeting) the agreement. What if I told you that you could harness this powerful and universal tool within your own home, classroom, and community to alter one’s behavior? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can! In fact, a Behavior Contract can be created simply, and within just a few minutes.

A contract should include the following:

  1. List or state the desired behavior that the child needs to engage in to meet agreement
  2. List out how one can earn reinforcement
  3. Establish positive consequences or reinforcers for meeting the agreed upon expectations
  4. Clearly state the consequences if the contract is broken or if the agreed upon details are not met
  5. The timeframe or how long contract should last
  6. Create a way to track behavior (clicker, chart, a sticker board, etc.) together
  7. A place for signatures
  8. Add tips on how to earn reinforcement (a great addition, but not a requirement)