I am mother of two young children (age 3 and 2). I just finished reading the second chapter of your book about motivating. How can I apply the theories for young children? I think without giving rewards and punishments it is hard to make them learn appropriate/inappropriate behavior. Is it too abstract for a preschooler to understand internal motivation?
Yes, your children are too young to understand the concept of internal motivation. However, you can teach them appropriate behavior without using rewards or punishments.
Here are a few techniques:
1. When the child does something that is not appropriate, lightly touch a wrist and move your head sideways (in a "no" "no"motion). Persevere. You may have to do this a number of times before comprehension sets in.
2. When the child starts to cry because he does not receive what he "needs" (read: "wants" or "seeks"), hug the child. If crying continues, hug harder.
3. Divert the child's attention with another activity.
4. When your three-year-old is able to understand, continually use the phrase, " Show me what is the right thing to do."
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Enjoy their childhood.