How To Teach Kids Backward Chaining

When teaching children life skills, the term “backward chaining” refers to breaking down a task into its parts and teaching them in the opposite order. As a result, the child experiences accomplishment and success with each try. Learn how to teach kids backward chaining in this article.

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The adult completes all but the final stage of the activity rather than the youngster starting at the beginning and getting lost halfway through, forcing them to ask for help. The youngster always completes the last step before the adult fades back in, doing less and less while they both work harder.

Teaching Common Tasks to Children Using Backward Chaining

Here are a few everyday jobs and life lessons that can be taught in reverse order and broken down into steps.

Building a Bed

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You may break down how to make a bed for a child as follows:

  • Remove the comforter and pillow.
  • Lift the top sheet up.
  • Fold the top sheet in.
  • Lift the comforter up.
  • Place the pillow back where it was.

Steps 1 through 4 would be carried out initially by the parent or guardian, with the youngster adding the pillow at the end. When that is consistently possible, the parent will carry out steps 1 through 3 as the child pulled up the comforter and put the pillow in its proper position. The step before it is presented once the kid is at ease with that step, with the constant aim of ensuring that the youngster completes the task effectively.

Making Shoe Ties

I’ll outline the steps below based on how I was taught to tie my shoes and how I taught my children to tie them. You can use an alternative method in place of your own steps:

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  • Create a knot.
  • Tighten the knot.
  • Create a loop using the left-hand lace.
  • Create a loop using the right-hand lace.
  • Utilizing the two loops, make a knot.
  • Tighten the knot.

The child would be allowed to tighten the knot after the guardian or parent had tied the shoe. The guardian repeatedly explains the process while patiently demonstrating how to tie shoes. In order to avoid having the child start with an untied shoe and remember what to do, the parent gradually goes back one step at a time, letting the youngster finish the final steps.


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A zipper can be extremely difficult to start, but once it is moving, zipping it up is extremely easy. the task into the following steps:

  • The zipper piece must be threaded into the bottom piece.
  • To make sure the zipper is running smoothly, begin zipping slowly.
  • The remainder of the zipper should be pulled up.

Before they can put the two parts of the zipper together, you can assign your youngster the task of proudly whipping the zipper up to the top. If your youngster has problems grabbing a little metal zipper, a big, chunky zipper pull that fits their hands can be useful.

Adding Buttons

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Any youngster would find it difficult to coordinate the steps necessary to take a button and a buttonhole, poke the button through the hole, and finish a whole sequence of buttons in a way that makes them all line up correctly, especially one with fine-motor issues.

There is no need to divide this process into phases; simply begin the child’s shirt-buttoning process at the bottom and hand them the last button. Leave the next two buttons after they successfully do that, and so on.

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