Parenting Trick #1: Bribery
Sometimes you just gotta go there. Now I'm certainly not implying that we bribe our kids for everything. They do chores and hate them just like every other kid in America. We say "no" to requests like Cheetos on a bed of Doritos for dinner on a regular basis. But I am unashamed to say that every now and then we just plain bribe them.
Take potty training, for example. I'm sure we are all familiar with the "pee in the potty and you get an M&M" trick. We definitely have done that with all of our non-diapered offspring. But for Reece, we had to pull out the big guns. He potty trained in about a week (not because of me--it was peer pressure.) But after that he just got lazy. Like if he didn't want to go all the way to the bathroom, he would just let a little out...you know, just to take the pressure off or something like that. I got tired of making him change clothes. So, we started bribing him with free apps on the iPad. Pants dry all day equals new game at bedtime. Pants wet--sorry kid, sucks to suck. And it worked! Instantaneously! Dry pants all the time now, and we finally phased out the new game business so he is just a normal peeing-in-the-potty human being. Except for the occasional drops-his-pants-in-the-yard episode.
Parenting Trick #2: Fairies
Fairies are a great parenting tool! Of course, there is the requisite Tooth Fairy who we all know and love. Our Tooth Fairy happens to be a little unreliable at times. Once she forgot to bring the goods two days in a row. She finally left a note on the front door (on her way out to her car) with a dollar bill taped to it because she was afraid she'd forget again the next night. It said something like, "Sorry! I forgot my fairy key so I couldn't get in. Just give your mom the tooth today and she will give it to me. But here's your dollar." Lame.
We also have a lesser known but equally important Sippy Cup Fairy. This fairy is in the family of fairies that comes to your house to remove an item that your child has been allowed to have for far too long because you are pushovers. She is related to the Binky Fairy, the Blankie Fairy, and the Bottle Fairy. I think there might even be fairies for older kids, like the Holey Jeans Fairy, or the Frozen Soundtrack Fairy. Maybe even one for husbands like the Shirt You've Had Since 8th Grade Fairy.
But I digress...
This week we really talked up the arrival of the Sippy Cup Fairy. He was excited to hear that SCF would take his cups to other little kids who need them (aka, the trash.) And when Reece was ready, we gathered all the "cuppies," put them under his bed, and waited to see what trove of treasures SCF would bring. That night, SCF flew real fast to the closest gas station because she was unprepared and purchased a flashlight and a bag of taffy. And it was like Christmas morning! I'm not even kidding--all the big kids up at 6am to see what Reece got.
|Here he is, ready to leave those cuppies. Don't mind my husband fixing a chair there in the background.|
So that's it folks. My two parenting tricks for today. I'm sure there are others, but you'll have to wait until I can think of something better than "Stop That or You're Grounded." Although that one sometimes works too.
What will I tell them when they ask me if fairies are real? The same think I'll say when they ask where babies come from. I'll tell them to ask Siri. (Kidding. Although that thing about the babies did actually happen.)