Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Second Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Barbara Harris


Teaching children to be independent is a challenge for parents. Initially, parents directly prompt and consequate their children’s behavior. Later, the parents fade prompts and delay consequences expecting their children to use self-management skills and environmental cues to complete tasks. The purpose of this study was to observe some of the methods which parents use to teach their 4-year-old children independent self-care skills and test the effects of a parent training program. The program was designed to transfer stimulus control from the parent’s physical or verbal prompts to textual and picture prompts on a poster listing the morning self-care skills and to positive self-instructions for using the poster and completing self-care skills. A within subject multiple baseline across subjects design was used to compare the effects of a concurrent, poster with self instruction, training package versus a consecutive, poster followed by self-instruction, training package. Twice a week, seven parents reported how much prompting their child received in initiating and completing each self-care skill for getting ready for the day and getting ready for bed. The children in the concurrent program made somewhat larger increases in the number of morning self-care skills initiated alone and skills initiated and completed alone and better maintained these increases over the course of the program. The amount of increased independence in morning self-care skills during the program varied inversely with the number of problem behaviors emitted and the number of family events or stressors. A poster with picture prompts and positive self-instructions appear to be useful methods for helping parents teach their preschool children independent self-care skills.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access