Monday, April 19, 2010

eyes on the prize

We've been struggling lately to encourage Sasha to be more grown up.

I do struggle with it a little, because part of me believes little ones will do it when they are ready. No healthy, average, child has ever become an adult without being toilet trained or learning how to feed themselves or put their own clothes on. Part of me knows that babying him this way, though, is just a way of spoiling him and will make it harder for him later in the fall when he starts preschool.

So, we have introduced the concept of conditional prizes. After all, it might just be motive he was missing.

This past week I went to a consignment sale and stocked up on some gorgeous playsets. Toys that would really be highly valued. But hardly cost anything.

I also told him when the weekend started, that Mommy had some really fun toys. Fun, SECRET toys. And he could earn one as a prize IF he fed himself all his meals and snacks all day. Nothing extraordinary, just get the food from the plate into his mouth on his own. He, naturally wanted to know what, so I guess he could gauge how much effort to put into this.

So, I told him I had a Pirate Island. But it was only for Big Boys Who Feed Themselves.

This was apparently intriguing. Because he immediately grabbed his utensils and began shoveling food into his mouth.

And so it went all weekend. If he complained he didn't want to, all I had to do was remind him that the Pirate Island could only be played with by Big Boys Who Feed Themselves. And if he wasn't one of those boys...well...I guessed we'd have to find a boy who was.

We also told Grandma about the deal. In front of him.

So now he knows that she's in on the arrangement too and will tell Mommy and the Pirate Island might go away.

This? This is working. He started shoveling in the Cream of Wheat.

I hope this continues to work. If an investment of $4 can motivate him to do things for himself he is capable of but unwilling to put forth effort? Who knows what we can accomplish?


caramama said...

I love it!

I have to admit though, when I'm in a hurry I wish my girl would just let me do some things for her. Not the feeding herself, as we went through that regression just a little while ago and I'm totally done with it! But carrying her instead of waiting for her pokey walk or getting her dressed instead of telling her five bajillion times to do it already! Maybe with the proper motivation, she would do it faster... Hmmm...

p.s. Thanks for clarifying about the poem. I didn't know a whole lot about that one, or if I did, I forgot it over the years.

Anonymous said...

The getting dressed part is still a hang up for us. Maybe I'll try this type of motivation. Hopefully it will outweigh his love of being naked!