The Little Trick That Could Get Your Kids to Finally Start Following the Rules

If you feel like a broken record repeating rules that children just keep breaking, consider writing them down and posting them in a visible place.

A recent study suggests posting written rules for children to see could increase the likelihood they'll be followed. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)
A recent study suggests posting written rules for children to see could increase the likelihood they’ll be followed. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

A study published a couple of months ago found that children who can read are more likely to follow advice that’s written down rather than just spoken.

“Children have many opportunities to learn from others through oral and written sources. Recent evidence suggests that early readers place more trust in written over oral testimony when learning names for unfamiliar objects. Across three studies, we examined whether the authority of print extends beyond mere naming to guide children’s actions in the physical world,” the study abstract published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology in May, which is getting play now, stated.

The study reviewed oral versus printed advice given to children age 1, 3 and 6 years old by puppets about how to work a device. Those who could read chose to follow the advice that was written down. In the case where conflicting advice was given by the oral versus the printed source, those who could read still followed what was written down over the spoken word.

“…the results suggest that when children learn to read, they rapidly come to regard the written word as a particularly authoritative source of information about how to act in the world,” the study read.

“It is a very striking result,” professor Kathleen Corriveau, lead researcher of the study from Boston University, said, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “We think it is seeing adults use texts such as recipe books, maps and menus as sources of authoritative information that influences them.”

“It suggests that they view texts as a mechanism to knowledge,” she added. “It also suggests that the written word is safe for generations to come.”

Front page image via Shutterstock.