Today we had a good morning. My kids arrived at school one minute before the opening bell rang, they were dressed in clothes that matched except maybe their socks, at least half of their exposed skin was slathered with mostly rubbed in sunscreen, backpacks were packed with nearly completed homework and healthy-ish snacks. (We caught a break, today is pizza day at school...total morning saver for me!) I only had to raise my voice to ‘serious mom level’ twice and ‘frustrated mom level’ once. To be fair, i’ll admit, in an effort to get their slow moving little bodies to move a little bit faster, I had to bribe them.
One of Koala Coach’s goals is to make parenting easier. There are several Koala Coach activities that use fun learning games to help kids accomplish tasks. For example, Rhyming Sillies, helps kids get their teeth brushed in the morning. (That reminds me, I think teeth got brushed this morning, but I forgot to follow up to make sure.) However, there are times with kids, when nothing seems to work, when I am short on time and therefore patience and I find myself in a parental moment of desperation, so I resort to bribery.
The good news is, I just read about a study in the Wall Street Journal that proved that bribery is a healthy way to inspire kids to do healthy behaviors. The article reported on a study that documented the effects of paying first through sixth graders to eat vegetables. The results of the study showed that more kids were eating more vegetables even after the rewards payments had ceased. Knew it! Ok, I didn’t know it … but I at least hoped that bribing my kids was going to pay off in the long run.
Despite this positive news, bribery is probably not the best method to use all of the time. However, when it is needed, bribery with the right type of rewards, is effective. Of course, as the founder of Koala Coach, I firmly believe that parents should parent using any method that works for them, but should throw in learning at the same time! Bribery is an excellent tool for learning! On the basic level you can have kids add up the number of toys or amount of money they have earned. But beyond this, I have found that my kids are often just as easily bribed with quality learning time spent with their parents. My kids will do almost anything for a chance to cuddle up with me and have the next chapter of Harry Potter read to them. (Usually I have to bribe them again to avoid catastrophic melt down when I stop reading.) My kids also look forward to the reward of a night message. A little message written on a white board, special for each child that get’s into pajamas in a mostly reasonable, before I’m totally gray time frame. Looking forward to picking the kids up from school and having some bonding, bribery, learning time tonight.
How do you use bribery? Is it effective?