I asked Min for one hour to myself so I could continue decluttering my bedroom using the Kon Marie Method. He gently ushered Gilli to their room where he and Gilli played and Min “read” books to Gilli for the entire hour.
When Min was little – from the time he started eating food until he was about 2 years old – I was very, very conscious of never using food as a reward for him. It was a choice rooted in personal experience as most things in parenting are.
It was extremely important for me that he first knew physical and verbal affection and praise along with lived experiences over food or toys to show him we were proud of him or happy with his behavior.
So while he did (and still does) get to pick a toy after getting a shot at the doctor’s office (a tradition continued from my childhood) my focus has always been on taking him places he loves – farm, playground, park – as incentive, reward and of course for the general joy it brings all of us and the confidence it teaches.
Have you ever seen a kid’s face who is too scared to go down the big slide and then finally does? Or watched a child who’s weary of feeding the goats and chickens then decides to bravely put their little hand out to offer feed? It’s MAGIC to see how those moments build a child’s self-esteem.
As Min got older the rules shifted as they do (and should), and eventually we started offering treats – mostly on special occasions.
Well, the other day was a special occasion for sure. The kid gave me one hour of uninterrupted tidying time. If that doesn’t deserve a batch of my mediocre cookies, I don’t know what does.