When you finish X, you may enjoy Y.

As is the case in just about every household I know with kids, no two weekdays look alike. But every day, at some point, I allow my kids to watch one TV show. It is the some point that causes the problem. My first grader, David, has difficulty figuring out when he is going to be allowed his precious TV time. Every day, the minute we walk into the house, whether it is 2 P.M. or 6 P.M., he wants to know “When can I watch TV?” And I can not stand the daily barrage of begging, whining, and pleading that inevitably leads me to say no over and over again.

This is where I instituted the when/then strategy. When all the must do activities are finished, then David can have TV time. Because David’s TV time also depends in part on his siblings’ commitments, I lay out the full schedule for the day for him. “Jenna has gymnastics today, so when we get home from dropping her off, you and Joe need to clean up the playroom, and then yes you can watch a TV show.

Once David has the information for the day, he does not feel insecure about whether TV is going to happen or not. He is no longer constantly checking in with me because he now knows exactly what needs to happen, and I find I am saying yes a lot more often. I am successfully using when/then at other tricky times of the day too. For instance, when you brush your teeth, then we can read a book together and at mealtime when the dinner plates are cleared, then we will serve dessert. Here you can check out part 1 of this series.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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