John List, a university professor along with Anya Samek, a teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison share their study about how to get children to change their behavior. They tried several methods to see what would make kids choose fruit over a cookie. One trick, Samek tells us, easily beat the rest...listen to this podcast from Freakonomics to learn more.
“The general point here about all of this is that you have many problems where what you do now affects what happens later, and usually we choose the easier decision or the easier action now. You think about savings for retirement, you think about getting doctor check-ups, you think about going to school, you think about engaging in risky behaviors, you think about adopting green technologies for our houses. In all of these cases we usually choose the bad action. And that action is to do what’s best for us now to the detriment of the future, to the detriment of our future self. And nutritional choices right now are just one of these elements that we face in society where we need kids to recognize the choice that you make now will critically affect your outcome in the future.”
According to an article from slate:
"Indeed, one key reason rewards work is that they facilitate what psychologist Alan Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center and author of The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child, calls “repeated practice.” The more your child does the good things you reward him for—tidying up, using a fork, stifling a tantrum—the more routine that behavior becomes. And, eventually, it just becomes part of who he is."
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