I am going to continue with the review of HAPPY parenting principles today. The second P stands for Planning for the best outcome. It's an interesting topic and deals with fostering ability to delay gratification. I read before that the research shows that children who are able to accept delayed rewards when they are very young tend to do better in school, their careers, and life in general. Anna is not bad in delaying gratification (for a toddler) and understands the concept of a prize chart when the prize comes in the end. That's how we passed the "pooping on the toilet" hurdle. However, I agree with the authors that planning is not something that very young children can do, since they don't really have a concept of time. The chapter offers some ways to help a child over four learn short-term planning skills:
- Give your child a part of the plan to arrange ot discover by herself or take the lead in planning for - such as the clothes she'll wear or the best neighborhood places to walk the new puppy.
- Encourage games and activities that involve strategy and teamwork among siblings and/or the whole family, such as treasure hunts.
- Don't rush her. Allow her time to work out what she wants and to plan for it. Don't expect her ideas to be wholly rational and don't mock her if they're not. If something she planned for won't work, explain why and make some suggestions for what would.
- Do what you say you are going to do, or let her know when plans have changed. Her emotional security depends on knowing that people she idealizes are trustworthy.
- Don't expect the child under age four to be happy about putting off the good stuff; just explain that it's sometimes necessary.