Reinforce this idea by using “when-then” phrases with your child.
“When-then” has several benefits. It tells your child that doing necessary jobs is an obligation, not a choice. It emphasizes that work comes before play. And it offers the promise of a reward or fun activity once the work is done.
Here are some examples of “when-then” phrases:
- “When you get dressed, then you can choose a cereal to have for breakfast.”
- “When you pick up your toys, then we can go to the park.”
- “When you brush your teeth, then we can read a bedtime story.”
Also remember to:
- Tailor the task to your child’s ability. Picking up toys is appropriate. Cleaning up an entire room probably is not.
- Be consistent. Use “when-then” at least once every day.
- Be a good example. Your child will notice if you walk past a sink full of dirty dishes and go switch on the TV. Follow “when-then” in your own life, too.
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