After tucking in his three young boys, a single dad walked into the kitchen to find the fridge and freezer doors both wide open with a chair in front of the shelves.
It had been his 3 year old in search of an apple an hour earlier. In our parent coaching session the next day, the dad asked me whether or not it was too late to address the issue a day later. I said that kids can remember consequences for about as long as they can remember a promise.
The dad went home and politely explained to his son the importance of closing the refrigerator door. To make sure the lesson stuck, he had his son “practice” closing the refrigerator door. To keep it fun, the 3 year old had to do it differently each time, so he did it backwards and on his tippy toes and like a ballerina and like a bulldozer. He did it with his eyes closed and he did after spinning in circles.
Think about what this dad did… the next time that boy opens the fridge door, he’ll remember to close it AND he’ll remember the fun and playfulness he had with his dad. That refrigerator will probably be closed with love and happiness for the rest of this boy’s life.