A common trap that parents fall into is “tricking” the child to get through a difficult situation. 

It is so easy to say, “we can do that when we get home” just to get a child to make a transition, knowing full well that the child will forget on the way home and you won’t have to follow through.

But this is the first step in building a child’s trust, teaching them about being trustworthy and helping their behavior.

All you have to do when you get home is what you told them you were going to do, even if (and especially if) they forgot.

Almost immediately, you will see a behavior change in your child when you say, “remember how I told you I would read that book after nap?  Well, now your nap is over, so let’s read the book!”  If your child no longer wants to read the book, then that’s perfectly ok.  But you remembered which will help your child build memory skills and will show him or her that your word is worth something.

Once you do this a couple of times, all you have to say in the future is, “we can’t go to the park now because we have errands to run, but we can go this weekend.”  Your child will know that you mean it, they will trust you, and they won’t throw a fit.

When I was five or six years old, I incessantly asked my mother for a kitten.  In order to get me to stop, she said, “when you are eight, you can get a kitten.”  She had no idea how important that kitten was to me (or park, or story, or treat to your child).  I never brought up a kitten again until the day of my eighth birthday.   I did get a kitten a couple of months later but I never forgot what my mother said.