One of the lessons you learn as a parent of a toddler is that you never (and I mean NEVER) use a fun upcoming event or the possibility of something sweet in an attempt to motivate or manipulate them into doing something. These plans always backfire. This is why:
Scenario 1: the set-up
It is getting close to dinner-time. G must be getting hungry because she starts asking for snacks. I tell her that dinner is almost done and I show her the bean soup we will be having. She doesn’t want bean soup. She begins to protest. She has been crabby and contrary all afternoon.
Me: I know you are hungry hon, we are going to have some bean soup and if you eat all your dinner like a big girl maybe we can have a treat.
G: I wanna treat.
Me: If you eat all of your dinner.
G: No, I wanna treat.
Me: G, we can’t have a treat now, we are going to have dinner first.
G: I WANT A TREAT!!!! (commence sobbing and tears of sorrow) Iwannatreat. I wannatreat. Iwannatreat. (sob, wail, gasp for breath, rub snot into a facial mask)
Note to self: treats should ONLY come as a surprise...do not mention treats until they are being given.
Scenario 2: the set-up
It is close to nap-time. G finishes her lunch; we brush her teeth, use the potty, and lie down. It is a sweet moment. There has been little protesting all morning. I didn’t have to chase her down. Lunch was not a struggle. Teeth-brushing was not a fight.
Me: Maybe when we get up from nap, we can go to the park.
G: (perks right up) I wanna go to the park.
Me: I know; we’ll go to the park after nap.
G: No, I wanna go to the park.
Me: I know G, we will go to the park, but you have to take a nap first.
G: I WANNA GO TO THE PARK (and………. wailing, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth)
G skips nap entirely and we spend the rest of the afternoon intermittently crying about not being able to go to the park because G did not take a nap.
Note to self: outings should ONLY come as a surprise...do not mention outings until seconds before we leave.
Lesson learned: LIVE IN THE MOMENT!
Ah, life is full of hard lessons and I am always amazed at how much finesse is involved in “working” kids. I am now a much savvier mama. My dear hubby, however, is still learning this lesson.
…….and who am I to get in the way of a good education.