Welcome back to True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches, a Thursday series co-hosted by the fabulous Melissa from Home On Deranged (She is beautiful wife, mom extraordinaire, brilliant Author and NOW a TV personality!).
Each week, we choose a new topic and then compare notes on differences and similarities of raising toddler and pre-school boys vs. girls. This week it’s my turn!
Boy or girl, every child is different when it comes to what motivate them.
At 2 years Henry seems naturally motivated to help. I am going along with this. If you give him a task, he is far less likely to find trouble. He is very satisfied with a high five, fist bump or a good job! He loves to follow his brothers lead and thanks to this is already showing signs he is interested in using the potty. With his natural tendency to steer toward trouble, I always make sure the bathroom door is shut because I think he is far more likely to proudly flush a toy! (Hayden wouldn’t dream of losing a beloved toy to the “tornado.”).
The “Star” Chart- We just go with it
Months ago I had began a “star chart” for Hayden. It doesn’t look so pretty, huh? I tried, but alas I will turn to Pinterest for my next layout. Hayden was far more interested in making designs with his accumulated stars than actually noting a task was complete. I thought about this and why ask him follow my chart? So I decided to let him create his own version of the “reward” system.
Henry has recently taken great interest in “earning stars” and that actually increased Hayden’s interest in it even more. Now the boys race to help with recycling or put clothes in the laundry. BONUS! I also have been able to use this as a tool to help teach Henry colors and Hayden with days of the week!
Our struggle with avoiding motivational bribes
Hayden has always been a difficult child to motivate. He didn’t crawl until he was 12 months old! He was just content wherever he was and with whatever might be nearby. We would set up toys to try to entice him and he would just sit there and begin to play with his socks. He is naturally inclined to let (or as a preschooler try to insist) you do things for him. Jelly beans worked AMAZING for potty training, but you can’t give a child candy all of the time. Money, toys, tv time- they all will work with him but I want also want him to learn- some chores/tasks are just a personal or family responsibility. I want to avoid the pitfall of bribes and better focus on the pride of a job well done. Admittedly I am occasionally guilty of the “if you want desert, you need to eat your dinner” and “if you are well behaved at the restaurant, you can watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” I truly struggle with innovative ways to motivate my four year old. I would love to get your advice!