Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bribing the Kids

I'll admit it, I bribe my children. Not anything major, but enough that they are incentivized to do as I request.

Generally, the incentives are focused around things they are struggling with or things they don't particularly want to do.

With my son, brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed is frequently a source of consternation. Over the summer, if he would get upstairs and ready for bed without complaining, then he could stay up until 8:30 reading or playing in his room. The flip side was that the longer it took for him to get ready for bed, the less time he had to play or read. It worked pretty well. Overall, he is now pretty cooperative about getting ready for bed, even when we returned to the school year bedtime of 8:00.

Sometimes when I have a lot I want to get done on a Saturday, I use incentives to get cooperation on the way. This weekend, we went for pictures, bought a new cell phone, got gas, a car wash, groceries and a ball for my daughter. In order to get through the many stops, the kids were allowed to share a "special" drink at Target - a small Icee. Not a major expense, but a treat to them. It worked, they cooperated and didn't complain as we made the numerous stops.


For my daughter, the big task at hand lately has been potty training. We have used incentives all along the way. Early on, using the potty would get her an M&M. After a while, that wasn't enough of a reward to get to the next level. Then, a few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to review the Razor Jr Folding Kiddie Kick Scooter courtesy of All Children's Furniture. (All Children's Furniture - you wonder aloud? I was a little surprised to learn that they sell everything from kids chairs to toys.) When it arrived, we had it sitting on the counter, we kept referring to it as the big surprise and when she had a full week wearing her big girl underwear and keeping them dry, we used this as a reward. She was very excited when we opened up the box and assembled the scooter. She couldn't wait to play on the scooter. She put on her brother's old helmet and knee/elbow pads. She was able to hop right on and ride. I'm sure that in part, her quick adaptation was due to watching her brother ride his scooter. The three wheel configuration makes the scooter more stable for her and allows her to feel like a big kid because she is riding a scooter just like her big brother. The turn radius on the scooter was good, allowing her to make a u-turn at the end of our driveway. The wheels seem to be loose enough to roll, but no so loose that the scooter slides out from underneath her. The handlebar is not adjustable, but I figure that by the time she is too tall for the handlebar height, she will be ready for a two wheel scooter. The scooter does fold up pretty easily, which will be nice for us to take the scooter along when we go to visit family or friends.

I know that there are many that would say that bribes aren't a good thing, but, you know, they work for me!

For more tips and tricks, check out Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

4 comments:

Tracey said...

Even as my girls have gotten older, I am finding that "bribes" can still work their magic at times! We can certainly get through a long shopping trip more pleasantly if they know there's a small treat coming at the end!

Jessica said...

Well we don't really bribe our kids but we do offer rewards from time to time. :)

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Eli's Lids said...

There is no shame in using what works... LOL! Eventually they will be working for incentives (paychecks & bonuses). We are just giving them life lessons :)

Life is Good said...

bribes totally work. I need to find something like that to get my little boy a bit more motivated about the potty.