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Jedi Mind Trick: 8 Ways to Motivate Kids

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Sign a Contract

Contracts reduce misunderstandings and open the door to communication. Debi Gilboa, M.D. suggests using a contract to motivate kids in almost any parenting situation—including cell phones, a common concern for parents. If your kid's desperate for her own phone, decide on a terms of use together and get it down in writing. "Write a cell phone use contract, to be renegotiated every 3 months," suggests Gilboa. "The contract specifies the necessities: the child will always pick up a call or answer a text from a parent. The child will 'park' the cellphone on its charger every evening 1/2 hour before bedtime and can pick it up before (or after) school the next day. The parents and child will split the cell phone bill each month 70/30 (or whatever works). The child will not send any inappropriate texts or pictures. The parents will not pay for a replacement phone if it is lost or broken. To earn a later curfew or more freedoms in 3 months, the child will abide by all these rules."