Backward Chaining


Backward Chaining


What is it?

Backward Chaining is a strategy to help your child achieve a goal. By breaking the task down into small steps, you work backwards from the last step, until your child can carry out the full task independently.

This strategy enforces positivity. By allowing your child to successfully accomplish the last task, they have the immediate feeling of accomplishment, instead of starting a task and then when unable to complete it, they need your help.

How to use it?

  1. Identify a goal or task you want your child to learn.
  2. Write down the steps needed to do the task. Complete the task yourself to identify the steps if needed.
  3. With your child complete all the steps of the task until the last one.
  4. Initially hand-over-hand, help your child complete the last step of the task.
  5. Over-time remove your support from accomplishing the last step of the task.
  6. Once your child can confidently complete the last step, hand-over-hand help them with the second last step, letting them then complete the last step by themself.
  7. Continue working backwards through the steps, until your child can do the entire task on their own.

Taking It Forward

You may initially start the strategy with a pair of socks, and can then extend this to your child getting dressed independently by themselves. The key aspect is to break any big goal into smaller steps that can be worked on and then brought together.


Read about this strategy in action in Sock it Up!

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