Getting children to do what you want them to do can be a struggle. And when the struggle gets too stressful, many parents resort to discipline, either by imposing punishments (“If you don’t clean up this mess you’re going into timeout”) or by offering a reward (“If you clean your room we can go out for ice cream”). However, these external motivators are nothing more than coercive tactics that do little help children develop the internal motivation to want to do something.
Rather than disciplining the child to force compliance, try turning the situation into a competition, which will spark the child’s internal motivation to win. For example:
- Instead of: “If you don’t clean your room you’re going into timeout.”