Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's all about m & m's and marshmallows...

This is what I return to when I think of parenting. There are so many parenting theories and controversies but the reality is; what works for you. I have potty trained successfully using m & m's as a reward when tinkles finally happened. Then I progressed to m & m's for staying dry for a good amount of time and eventually through the night. The one day I was having trouble getting my 2 year old twins to stay put at the dinner table. Then I remembered the m & m's. If it works for potty training, why not other behavior therapies? When one child stayed at the table and politely took a bite of food. I placed an m & m next to his plate and said "Great job, staying put and showing good table manners." Then his sister observed the reward for good behavior and quickly imitated the good behavior too. I waited a few minutes and then rewarded her with the m & m too with the same phrase "Great job, staying put and showing good table manners." They quickly learned that it was smart to stay put and eat their food. Some people see this as bribing but not when it is a reward. I didn't promise m & m's for sitting still. I just reward good behavior. When I was teaching, we did the same with tickets or happy faces. My aide and I would catch the troublemakers or unmotivated students, doing something right and reward them with a raffle ticket. It's amazing how a little piece of paper can encourage good behavior. Instead of lecturing on good behavior or discipline, just a little piece of paper. It's all behavior management. Just like Pavlov's dog. Behavior that produces a good reward will be repeated. You could spank for undesired behavior but aren't m & m's just more fun? What about the marshmallows you ask? well when we ran out of m & m's we tore open a bag of marshmallows. and now when he stays in his bed all night, he awakes with a reward of a marshmallow. Like I said. It's all about m & m's and marshmallows. no manuals required.

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