Why do you get up in the morning? Because you have a job? If not, most of us would be up around noon, sitting on the couch in our pajamas mooching Internet off the neighbors so we can binge watch Netflix.
Likewise, children have extrinsic motivation to do things too. Of course, it’s not a job, but children do like to receive income. Really, they do. We all of our income, money, or currency that we earn and like to spend. So do children. However, unlike adults, children’s currencies change daily and throughout the day.
I’ll use my son as an example.
My son is the first to rise, so he gets first choice of morning television. Well, he’s the only one choosing because he’s the only one truly awake. Still, the choice of a show is incentive for my son to sit and stay put for awhile so everyone else has a chance to wake up.
However, if it’s during the week and my wife and newborn are still sleeping in bed, then my son’s tablet is currency. Before I head out the door for work, I’ll setup Daniel Tiger episodes and let him lay on the bed next to Mama until she has a chance to wake-up.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, my son likes to wake-up way before 7am.
One of my son’s favorite activities is jumping on and making forts on Mama and Dada’s bed. We have an overload of pillows, so plenty of building material. Also, I need to use this currency so my son can take his afternoon nap.
For example, if I say, we’ll jump on the bed and then afterwards we have to take a nap, he’ll go through with it. Lots of physical movement on the bed and fort making also gets him tired, getting him ready for nap.
In the evening, Dada is currency. Since I’m gone most of the day, my son is more likely to do something if I’m the one doing it. So, with this in mind, I’ll be the one to handle his entire night time routine: brushing teeth, getting ready for bed, and actually helping him fall asleep.
Still, I do use additional currency throughout the routine. His toothpaste must be the one with Minions on it. Changing his diaper at night must be a game. And using a flash light or his night time starlight bug is incentive for him to stay in his bed.
What currency do you use with your kiddos? Stickers? Play-dough? Some sort of activity? Share in the comments below. Happy spending!