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Provo City School District

Lakeview Elementary School

Strategies to Build or Eliminate Habitual Behavior

Strategy 5: Pairing

Pairing is where we take two things a put them together to encourage a habit. Want to walk more for exercise? Pair it with time spent with a friend, listening to your favorite podcast, or calling up a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. When you walk, you do the other activity with it to help encourage the habit.

If you are decreasing a habit, see what events co-occurred with it and maybe change one of those. If you are trying to curb snacking and you paired studying with snacking, replace the snacking with something else like drinking flavored water or chewing gum and pair that with studying.

In class, if you have a student reluctant to do the next thing on the schedule, pair it with something you know they like and are capable of doing both those things and accomplishing the assigned task.

Examples could be:

  • Flexible seating
  • Having a soft item on their desk
  • Listening to music
  • Using noise-cancelling headphones
  • Letting them doodle
  • Letting them hold a fidget item

If you want to decrease a paired habit, like the student doodles during tier 1 instruction, but is not listening, then replace that doodling with a different paired activity like squeezing a stress ball or using a fidget item, but they must have eyes up on the teacher and engage in the instruction.



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