A couple of weeks ago, Monkey finished her first reader book. It was a classic Dick and Jane story. It was a collection of the first three readers, I think. As a reward, I took her to a toy store to find an inexpensive present. She actually had a few stories left when we bought the item, but the next day she read all of the rest of the stories in the book to get her reward. Normally she stalls, tries to talk about something or fusses when it is time for school. That day she zoomed through the stories with no hesitation.
When my siblings did Sing Spell Read and Write, they had a treasure chest full of useless items, such as stickers, tiny toys that get lost and broken in two seconds and little pieces of candy. I don’t remember what they got the awards for, but I remember getting one of those tiny plastic toys was the highlight of their day or week or whatever.
Since Monkey responded so well to the reward, I plan to make her our own treasure chest of awards that she can win for next year during first grade. It seems that Monkey is a child who responds to positive reinforcement.
So this is my question for readers this week. Is it acceptable to bribe your children to do their school? Is offering a small toy (and I mean extremely small), as a bonus for doing good work for the day, week or unit a suitable motivator for school? Or is it better to avoid awards and discipline them for bad behavior?
I don’t know which way is better, but I do know I love school a lot better when Monkey is cheerful and willing to work. What motivators do you use for your children?