Attention is something all human beings need. Children want attention – even bad attention if that is all they can get. Children often misbehave as a way to get much-needed attention.
Good messages (given with words and actions) are big doses of attention. Telling children that they are
special and likeable is like putting money in a bank account. It allows children to collect doses of good attention in an “attention savings account.” They then can use these doses of good messages or attention when they are feeling sad, mad, fearful, etc.
When adults help keep children’s attention savings accounts full with good messages, they can draw out the attention they need when they most need it. Having attention ready and waiting for them can help them control their misbehavior.