Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bribe Your Kids

Most people say the word "bribe" as if they are talking about Watergate, and the tone only goes down when you talk about school work and bribery in the same sentence. STOP IT! Your kids like to be bribed, it makes it exciting! Bribery does not have to be a bad thing... here's a few examples of good old fashion bribery!

Bribe Your Kids With YOU! 
My kids want my attention ALL THE TIME! I can't alway give it to them but when I can, I can use my attention as a reward for learning. "Come sit on my lap and I'll read to you" is way more inciting to my 2 year old then "Come tell me what this word says." Even if we read 1 or 6 books before she warms up and wants to start pointing out words she knows, it's SOOOO worth it! She can point to words in her picture books that she knows, and that is the first step in being an independent reader! All she wants in return for this irreplaceable reading practice is me to pay attention to her, and nothing else. I've also started bribing my older daughter every night before bed. If she'll help me pick up all the toys and books in her room before bed, I'll sit and sing to her while she falls asleep. Even though sang to her before she will work hard to make sure she gets her snuggle time. I've only ever left once with out singing to her. I still tucked her in, kissed her good night and told her I loved her but she just refused to help do anything that day. So I kindly told her "we'd try again tomorrow" I've never even had to threated to let her fall asleep on her own since that time.

Bribe Your Kids With Outdoors Time! 
Okay this sound silly right? Like how exactly does that work... but it works. Kids need time outside, it's so crucial but they don't know you know that! So bribe them to play animal sounds with you, on your way to get their bike out of the garage (or in our case motorized jeep). Get them to tell you what colors their balls are while pulling them out. Have them match up their balls or other toys to the colors of flowers, grass, the sky or other objects you find outside. Throw two balls and have them go get the "red one" (I promise this isn't playing fetch, okay maybe it is a little). Not only does this give their bodies the much needed exercises, and fresh air, but it also keeps them thinking about the world around them! So on those days they just can't sit and read, go outside and play color games, matching games, and animal sounds! Bribe them with going outside and it makes it into an extra special treat, meaning this homework is just that much more fun!

Bribe Your Kids With Bath Time! 
When my 9 month old refused to sit down and listen to story time for a week, I was ready to give up. Some days home work with little ones is frustrating! Finally a little light bulb came on in my head while she was sitting and splashing in the tub "My daughter is contained, and happily so!" I sent my 2 year old to fetch a story book... she brought me back Splat The Cat... "PERFECT" I thought to myself. I sat on the floor just outside the water's reach and started reading. My 9 month old stopped splashing, she stared at me, until the book was finished. Then when I said "yah Inara for reading time today" she splashed extra hard! Now when they just can't find it in themselves to sit still for reading time I simply say "Do you want to splash in the bath with Splat the Cat?" both girls get excited! We've also just recently gotten some "bubble books" which are water proof and perfect for bath time!

Bribe Your Kids With Helping You Make Dinner (or Desert)
One of my 2 year olds favorite things to do is "cooking" with me, so I made it a treat to get to come help me cook. If she counts the scoops of flour, sugar, etc we put in the bowel she can help me mix it. If she doesn't count then mom gets to mix it. Talk about an easy way to get her counting real world applications!

Bribe Your Kids The Old Fashion Way - With Treats! 
Yep sometimes it just takes a treat (it doesn't have to be sugar packed) to get little ones back on track. There's been weeks where either of my girls won't want to sit and do their reading or math programs. So I simply sit down at my desk with a cup full of fishy crackers and start with out them. Guaranteed with in 30 seconds they are on my lap asking for a cracker. Kids learn by watching they see you are going to do it anyway and they'll often give in even with out the crackers, but hey an added bonus never hurt!

Watch your kids for a few days, those little things that they love, that are just a little extra work for you... use those to bribe them into picking up their toys, doing their homework, learning their colors, counting, or anything else you are working on! I've even bribed my 2 year old with watching a TV show if she'd hold her little sister (just because she was having a hard time adjusting to having another little person in the house).

What sort of things do you use to bribe your kids? 


  1. ROFL! Fetch with your kids! That's hilarious! I'm glad to know all your tricks. .. this way when I baby sit for you I know what works! Thanks for the post!

  2. This is fantastic!! Thank you for sharing. I especially like the ideas for outdoor learning. Zeke LOVES to play outside, and so do I!