The Power of Ending on a Positive Note With Kids
Warning: For this Jam, reader discretion is advised. Part of this Jam is not for the faint of heart. I’ll warn you before I get there, so read on for now. You won’t regret it. This Jam is about the effect that ending on a positive note can have on your baby or toddler’s willingness to do certain things regularly, like taking a bath, brushing his teeth, and more.
It has been shown that ending an event on a positive note increases the overall positive perception of that event. If an event was mostly unpleasurable, but the end of the event was pleasurable, the event as a whole will be remembered as not being so bad. I’ll give you an example that has nothing to do with parenting, but proves the point nicely. This is the part that is not for the faint of heart, so brace yourself if you are.
There was a study done, and I’m sorry I don’t have the reference, but believe me, this was a real study, of people’s perceptions of colonoscopies. One group of people just had a regular colonoscopy, while the other group had a colonoscopy with a positive ending. The positive ending for the second group was that the apparatus was left in their butts a few minutes longer without being moved around, making those last few minutes more comfortable relative to the beginning and middle of the procedure. The patients then rated their overall perception of the comfort/discomfort of the whole procedure. The group that had the “positive” ending perceived the entire procedure to be more comfortable (or less discomfortable) than those who had a regular colonoscopy.
What’s happening here?
In a nutshell, we remember the end of an experience or event more than the rest of it, and we use that memory to judge the event or experience as a whole. For those patients for whom the end of the colonoscopy was not so bad, the entire colonoscopy was perceived/remembered as not being so bad.
This is the reason why the Season Finale of your favorite TV show is so good, and why bands play their best songs last at concerts.
I thought about how this concept could apply to children and parenting, and came up with an idea.
The idea is this: When you are doing something with your child that you want them to do regularly, end the experience on a positive note.
This could apply to tooth brushing, bath time, mealtime, bedtime, and more. You are limited only by your imagination.
I apply this concept to bath times with my baby daughter Sweet Cheeks. As I have written in previous Jams, Sweet Cheeks really loves taking baths. I don’t want to take any chances. I always end the bath on a positive note, so that she remembers the whole bath time as being positive and looks forward to the next one with excitement. I do this by ending the bath with something she really enjoys…me bouncing her in and out of the water and lifting her high in the air. She loves this and always smiles and laughs. I do this with Smarty Pants too, ending tooth brushing sessions and bath times in a playful and fun way.
This concept has many more applications, and if you think about it, you will soon see how it can apply to your relationships, your job, in sales and presentations, and more. Try it out and I’m sure you’ll end up being a positive-ending-addict.
Leave a comment with your thoughts and ideas on how to apply this concept, or just letting us know what you think about it.
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