Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Stuff Motivation

I really love Bec's recent post on "No More Stuff Until Christmas". Over the last few years we've really tried to focus on being no more stuff kind of people. And on a side note, after having to get rid of all our belongings, it's amazing how unimportant stuff really becomes.

But stuff has risen it's ugly head again recently in of all places with Little B's physio. Physio is hard at the best of times and getting a nearly 5 year old to do it every day is shall we say a challenge. The answer I'm told is to bribe him with toys. This is heartily encouraged by both therapists and in the words of one "buy him whatever it takes to get him to do it". Now with both of them encouraging this, it would mean that I would be buying Little B 2 toys a week or 8 toys a month. Seriously, what child needs 8 new toys a month? And even if I was buying secondhand - that's still 8 new toys a month!?!?!

Needless to say I have found this attitude grating rather than encouraging and it has more than ruffled my feathers (not helped by a crankypants child who doesnt want to do physio everyday). So our answer has been to create our own reward charts. Working with Little B we have created two rewards charts - one for outdoor rewards and one for cooking rewards. Each week, he gets to pick something from one of these lists as his reward. We then alternate the charts so he picks outdoors one week and cooking the other. He chose the things on the list so that they motivate him to get through his daily exercises.

As you can see from the list, they arent earth shattering but they are things he really likes to do with the undivided attention of either or both parents in tow. He loves to cook and while this list isnt complete yet, we are already looking forward to making cattle cookies this weekend.

I'd hate to think where we would have put Little B's 36 new toys if we'd gone down that path - to be honest the mind boggles.


  1. Love it! Incentives are good, but even new toys would soon lose their appeal when inundated like that. Good luck with the reward chart & the physio...

    What are cattle cookies?

  2. The mind does boggle but since I have seen a very severe case of the results of parents loosing the physio fight when a child was young I also understand the stance a little.

    That said I think your solution is wonderful. You've taken the essence of the message, use whatever rewards required if it will get the job done, then tailored it perfectly to your family's circumstances. Everyone's life is happier if a non negotiable part of the day isn't a toe to toe turf war.

    Kind Regards

  3. Rewards, bribes, motivators...what ever you want to call them, work best when they are something highly valued by the subject (i.e. the bribee). If you had gone the toy route, the toys would probably have lost their allure as soon as he got them. But spending time, and getting mum or dad's undivided attention...never, ever, ever, becomes boring. Clever mummy (and daddy).

  4. Hi Bec,

    Cattle cookies are an old biscuit recipe for when you didnt have much on hand. Apparently the recipe is 100 years old.

    1 cup SR flour
    30mls vinegar or 1 egg
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 tbsp butter

    You just mix it all together and shape small balls, then bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. They are really sweet and yummy.