Monday, April 29, 2013

Making Bargains With Children

So, we're potty training Secondborn. (He's three.) This is not what you'd call a high stress endeavor; it's more sort of laying groundwork for a serious attempt later. If he gets it now, great; if it turns out that he's just not ready yet, that's fine too.

But part of the process we're using is that we're offering a reward for each successful Poop On The Potty. And by "reward" I mean "toy". This has met with limited success, and therefore limited toys. (If we get to the point where he can manage his business reliably, we'll move on to stage two: earning a point for each day he doesn't poop in his pull-ups.)

So it's going reasonably well, as far as Seconborn is concerned. However, Secondborn is not the only child in our house, and he's not the only one with opinions on this plan.

Specifically, the plan has led to Firstborn complaining that he wasn't getting anywhere near the same opportunity to earn new toys. I explained that he had gone through the same process back when he was about Secondborn's age, and thereby earned his fair share of toys. To my great surprise, Firstborn was not entirely mollified by this knowledge.

So I have offered him a deal. In first grade, in his current school, Firstborn gets a weekly homework pack. It comes in on Monday, and it's due on Friday. Some of the work - spelling words, timed readings - needs to be repeated nightly. However, there are always three one-shot assignments as well. Generally we spread them out, so each night we do the nightly work and one of the one-shots, leaving Thursday night with only the nightly stuff.

If that last paragraph was absolutely indecipherable, I apologize.

Anyway, some homework gets done every night; the rest of it has to be done by the time it goes back Friday morning. The deal I've offered Firstborn is that he can earn himself a new Skylander if he gets all the "any time during the week" assignments done today. If it works - if he manages it - then all we'll have to deal with for the rest of the week is the spelling words and the timed readings.

Ideally, of course, this will serve as a lesson in the benefits of getting unpleasant chores out of the way as quickly as possible. More likely, it will serve as a lesson in Getting Toys From One's Parents. But hey, it's worth a try, right? And either way, it'll make the rest of the week a little easier...

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