If you’ve got kids, you already know that parenting is a little different than what you had originally planned! Before having kids, you just knew that yours will be the best behaved kids to ever walk the earth and you would always be able to get your kids to do what you want! They’d never be like those OTHER kids, you know the ones…the kids whose favorite word is NO, they make it a game to lose their parents in the mall and they throw tantrums right in the middle of the store when they don’t get what they want.
Then you actually have kids and you realize that they ALL do this at some point. Of course, some do it more than others but at some point, both my kids have tried to play “catch me if you can” at the mall and I’ve had that screaming kid in Target because I wouldn’t buy yet another giant ball. Yes, I was the parent with the child that kicked and screamed all the way to the car. Ever tried to put a toddler in a carseat that doesn’t want to get in? I have no idea where that superhuman strength comes from. Anyway, I’m sure all the non-parents walking by were also thinking “My child will never do that”. Haha…sorry but you’re in for a big surprise!
Don’t get me wrong, my girls are actually very sweet and well-behaved the majority of the time. The point is that all kids have their moments. Sometimes they just have them at times that aren’t necessarily convenient for us and drastic measures are necessary! I’m talking about bribery! If you are one of those parents that doesn’t believe in that sort of thing, you probably want to stop reading (though you’re REALLY missing out on a very effective approach). I try not to use it too often because I don’t want them to expect it every time. However, it really can come in handy!
Sometimes I’ll mention errands that we need to run, only to hear synchronized chants of “I don’t want to” or “That’s boring”! You don’t even want to be around when I announce that we have to go to the grocery store! However, I have found that bribery is like a magic wand, and mommy is the fairy godmother. Just wave that bribery wand in the air and your children will turn into little princesses (or princes).
In fact, I have bribes reserved for all occasions! Here are some examples:
- Grocery store bribe – They get a cookie from the deli
- Walmart bribe – Mommy will try to win a rainbow ball from the “claw” machine. You’d think they would have figured out by now that mommy NEVER, EVER wins that game!
- Target bribe – They can select one special item from the dollar section (there’s a reason they put that near the entrance)
- Mall bribe – They get at least 30 minutes in the play area (more if mommy is doing something interesting on her smartphone). The only drawback to this bribe is that I then have to bribe them with an Auntie Anne’s pretzel in order to get them to leave the play area. That’s mostly for my benefit though…Auntie Anne’s pretzels are awesome!!!
- Dollar Store bribe – You already see this one coming, don’t you?! They get to choose one toy each, although we all know that any toy bought from the dollar store will fall to pieces in the car before we even make it home.
- Home Depot bribe – There’s no bribe that works for my oldest on this one but my 3 year old loves to check out the disco ball in the lighting section or choose a paint swatch to take home.
Though I use bribes most often for shopping trips, I do reserve the right to occasionally use them at home too. Recently we had family visiting and my little one decided that she couldn’t be bothered with clothes (she decides that a lot) and started running through the house completely naked. Rather than spending 15 minutes trying to wrangle her into clothes, all I had to do was offer her a penny! Yup, just one single penny. She immediately disappeared and returned seconds later with clothes in her hand. The funny thing is that by the time she had all her clothes on again, she had completely forgotten about the penny! This kid will pretty much do anything for a penny or a Skittle…it makes life easy!
Have you had to bribe your kids so that they’d cooperate? What tricks do you have up your sleeve?