Call it what you want, bribes, negotiations, incentives, or rewards. It’s all the same. You need your child to do something and they refuse and you’re smart enough to know not to get in a power struggle with kids.
Back in the day when my kids were toddlers I had a ‘Do not negotiate with terrorist’ policy that didn’t last a week. I quickly learned to pick and choose my battles with my children. And sometimes the battles I picked to win, I was losing.
I realized that I had to be a little more flexible to get them to do the things that are good for them. Take for instance right now as I’m writing this post my 7 year old is watching cartoons. He’s off from school on break but was given a homework packet he’s been refusing to do for days. In order for him to watch T.V. I required him to complete a few pages.
Here are a few more bribes that have actually worked wonders in my home:
5 Bribes That Are Actually Good For Kids
- “If you eat a piece of fruit I’ll give you a piece candy.” My kids act as if they will pass out from eating fresh fruit. I tell them if they eat one piece of fruit I will give them a small piece of candy and they happily agree. By the time they finish crunch on a sweet apple their taste for sugar is gone and they forget about the candy.
- “You can stay up late as long as you’re reading.” I use this bribe almost every night. The trick is to set their bedtime earlier. That way they are actually going to bed on time. And if they stay up a little later, who cares? They’re reading! (Check out more great Raising Readers tips here: Raising Readers)
- “If you give some toys away you can get some new toys.” Need an easy way to declutter your child’s toy box and give to charity? Ask them to fill a bag with toys they no longer play with in exchange for money to buy another toy they choose. My offer is usually for $20 if they can fill a large shopping bag with used toys. Frequency: Once or twice a year. Perfect bribe for the holiday season.
- “If you finish your homework you can watch t.v.” My husband and I are very strict about no T.V. on school nights but we occasionally make exceptions. This usually happens on a hump day or Thursday when our week is filled with activities or one of us is traveling and we are outnumbered. We rarerly use this bribe so when they get it they are eager to comply and finish homework with zero complaints. We sometimes include “no showers tonight” to sweeten the pot.
- “When you drink your water you’ll get some juice.” If you know me then you know I’m serious about my water intake. I believe it’s the cure for everything, headaches, upset stomachs, sniffles, friends talking bad about you? Drink more water. In some homes dinner is paired with juice or milk, in my home it’s water. In an effort to not “deprive” them of this sweet sugary substance they’ll get a half cup of juice only after they’ve finished a cup of water.
I’ve several more bribes I incorporated in my parenting routine but these are some of the better ones.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite or frequently used bribes in your home. Please leave them in the comment section below.