In a way perhaps this post could possibly be called the art of bribery but I prefer to think of it not as bribery but rather of positive reinforcement! I’ve spoken before about how we dealt with toddler tantrums when the small lady went through them way back when. Long story short but comfort and love was the only solution and I find this attitude transcends most behaviours or actions in our house. So we practise the art of positive parenting. And yes I think art is the right word as art is never really perfect and constantly takes practice!
Take for example, the big lady is a great eater throughout the day but dinners used to be a battle. We tried taking ‘pudding’ away, we tried putting her on the naughty step but the single trick that worked was literally dancing the happy dance around her when she ate it all. She revealed in the praise and encouragement from us and in general the happy dance stopped after about a week but the good relationship with dinners continued.
Reward charts help too, we go through phases of using these. Generally, I find they work for changing one behaviour over a short amount of time, they give a 3 year old something to aim for but she tends to loose interest after about a week. We were sent this lovely game, or reward tree, Benefitto which is a really fun, interactive and visual way of creating something for children to aim for. It’s a magnetic poster which you can stick to a refrigerator, radiator or dishwasher and comes with four little characters and lots of extra magnets such as leaves that can act as extra ‘treats’ along the way as a child aims to get from the bottom of the tree to the top. It does what its supposed to do in terms of a really nice, happy, positive reward chart and when we’re not using it for behaviours the girls sit down and play with it themselves making up games as the three year old is all about ‘pretending’ at the moment.
Sometimes its hard to stay positive when kids and their behaviours test you so I don’t claim to be able to practice what I preach everyday but having an overall objective on how to deal with things is a good start!