So how do you get a toddler to do something that they don't want to do?  Grandma knows! The Premack Principle (often known as "Grandma's Rule") suggests that your child will be willing to do a particular activity he doesn't want to do (pick up toys) if he knows he will be able to do something he really likes afterwards (watch TV).


Simply put, this teaches your child that doing what they are supposed to do is good for them. It also teaches them that behaviors have consequences and what they do impacts their future. Understanding this principle can also help them prepare for future responsibilities such as finishing homework and chores means time for other activities and promotes responsibility as an adult. 

Brain Science for Your Baby


The Premack Principle is a famous idea in psychology. Nearly 50 years ago David Premack, Ph.D. showed that enjoyable activities can be used to reinforce (increase) the performance of less enjoyable activities.  Grandmas have known this forever - maybe your grandmother told you to eat your vegetables before you could get your dessert!   Video: The Premack Principle


A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
Keep this in mind when following "Grandma's Rule":


Tell your child what they can do or have BEFORE you start trying to get your child to follow your direction (e.g., "one minute until we clean up and have a snack") and NOT after you've already been trying to get him to follow directions.


Make sure what you want your child to do is something he can do and that he will have time to do both what you want and the cool thing you said he could do!

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You  


Remember Grandma's Rule in your own life as well!


Set realistic goals and expectations for you have to get done and reward yourself for achieving your goals or completing your tasks.


Organize your schedule or "to do" list to allow yourself breaks or preferred activities after you get things done. Think about your day and feel good about it!


What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Children in this age range are moving away from their "baby" stage and toward the greater world that they have never been physically able to explore before. Talking, walking and asserting their independence are the hallmarks of this stage, developmentally. Children need to explore...we just need to help them do so safely!


Baby Buffer Blog
Written by *Gene
*Greta McFarland, MD, FAAP


Does your schedule have about 10 "to-dos" and only time for 5 of them?  Well, welcome to the club.  So here is number 11... no,... bump it up to at least number 4; it can only take 1-2 minutes.  Your child's safety may depend on it!  Go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site for recall information at 


A children's advocacy group, called Kids In Danger, released their 2013 annual report on recalls and children's injuries due to faulty or dangerous products.   The good news is that the number of injuries is down from 2012, but the bad news is that the deaths are up and there was an increase in the number of products recalled. Read more

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