Here’s an example. Most children love sweets. They want dessert. Healthy foods often pale in comparison. My son loves dessert. When we told him, “You’re not eligible for dessert until you eat a variety of foods from the dinner table,” it wasn’t a threat. It was just being clear on the expected behavior – the behavior that was necessary – before sugar could go into his body.
It’s very clear to him now in the homework arena. He wants to hang out with friends. His schoolwork is unfinished. All I need to say is “A comes before B” and he knows exactly what I mean.
Even young children can grasp this. Just as they are learning their ABC’s, they can learn which behaviors must come first.
In our house, it has saved countless hours of explaining, heading off the bombardment of “Why?” questions. My son learned pretty quickly, that a lot of the time, the answer to Why? was “A comes before B.”
This is a strategy that fits right into the RESPECT 3R’s of Parenting and makes things easier for both parent and child.