Buy in on every level

Anyone who has interacted with a child, knows the difference in feeling like you are dragging a child along to “Get them” to do the thing you want them to do versus having a willing partner. A willing partner is usually more attentive, more organized, and generally more competent.

One simple way to support buy in from a child, is to wait for them to join you by taking your hand. This can be an exercise in patience as you wait for some kids to processing what you are saying, notice that you are inviting, or switch their mental and physical gears from what they are thinking about to what you are saying and doing. This patience is regularly rewarded when I take the moment or two to help a child accept my invitation, rather than “getting them” to do my idea. In practice, this means that rather than taking him by the wrist to support him to move from point A to point B, I recommend offering your hand to allow him to take it and you can guide him to where you want him to go. This is a subtle difference but if you think about how you would feel if someone took your wrist and led you to the bathroom versus offering a hand, waiting for him to take it, and then guiding him to the bathroom. In the second instance, you have someone who is buying in to the fact that you are guiding him somewhere and if he has given you his hand, in many ways that signals that he is open to what you are about to show, tell, and do with him. If you offer a hand and then wait, it might save some struggle later because you will be going at his pace and letting him DECIDE to join you.