Leonard, Julia A.; David Lydon-Staley; Sophie D. S. Sharp; Hunter Z. Liu; Anne T. Park; Danielle S. Bassett; Angela L. Duckworth and Allyson P. Mackey

Children's behavior changes from day to day, but the factors that contribute to its variability are understudied. We developed a novel repeated measures paradigm to study children's persistence by capitalizing on a task that children complete every day: toothbrushing (N = 81; 48% female; 36-47 months; 80% white, 14% Multiracial, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 1% Black; 1195 observations collected between January 2019 and March 2020). Children brushed longer on days when their parents used more praise (d = .23) and less instruction (d = -.22). Sensitivity to mood, sleep, and parent stress varied across children, suggesting that identifying the factors that shape an individual child's persistence could lead to personalized interventions.