After School Rewards

Science Experiment (created in PowerPoint)

Raising kids is the ultimate science experiment.  Of course there are the things you cannot change and I’m afraid there are more of these genetically determined constants than is fair or comforting.  However there are variables to play with and affect and hopefully improve. 

Problem

Lately when I pick my kids up from school, my 4 year old son especially, starts immediately asking to go somewhere or do something.  His requests always crescendo into tears for toys.  He is SO toy crazy!  I wonder if this is a boy thing?!  I generally stick to Christmas, birthdays, and very special rewards as a general rule but I have bought the kids toys for no good reason before.  I know I can’t give into this and I don’t want to.  We already have way too many plastic objects all over the house.  We typically do one play-date with their cousin and one library visit and the other days we go home.  I think they need down time and they really enjoy it.  But these tantrums are really getting to me.

Why can’t he just be happy to see me like I am him?!

Hypothesis

This morning I had a breakthrough.  Maybe school, even though it is just pre-school, feels like an accomplishment for my son and therefore he is looking for a reward.  When I was working 8-10 hour days at an office, I would be looking for a reward at the end of the day too.  As an adult I could help myself or rely on my self-discipline that comes with maturity.  But my son is only 4.

Experiment

To test out my hypothesis I am going to tell my son I have a small reward/surprise for him for his “accomplishment”.  I am going to make a special snack perhaps and grab a video from the library.  The reward/surprise I really think it is going to work!  I also think that the rewards could get even smaller and less frequent over time and and still satisfy him.

Conclusion (TBD)

If you do something like this already I would really love to hear your reward/surprise ideas!  


Ann

I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.

14 comments

  1. I like this idea, because I think anything out of the norm, if you phrase it as “special”, feels that way to kids. Like you did something just for them. Now. What will you reward yourself with?

    • Just have to get my act together slightly and not forget all about it until 2 minutes before I have to go pick them up!

      I think I will reward myself with a new toy…

  2. I find that a trip to the library can do the trick at that age, especially if he can pick out a video but I try to throw in a book too. Or stopping for a special snack if you don’t mind that.

    Another option is to get another mom to trade toys for a short period. What her son is tired of and vice versa. One kid’s trash is another kid’s treasure. You could make a “prize box” of these used toys as rewards.

    It could just be also that your son is tired, hungry and spent from being so good all day at preschool. My kids used to run and hug me right at pick up and then promptly have a screaming meltdown in the car. Tired/Hungry= meltdown still for my almost 10-year-old!

    A snack to hand him immediately might do the trick too?

    • Snacks in the car are a GREAT idea!!! This should adequateness distract until safely home – thanks! Like the other ideas too!!! You would be great in a brainstorm session!

  3. Great idea…I think all of us need some special things to transition from work (school is his work…) to downtime.

    I love your beaker bottle art, power point, really? I had no idea, power point makes me think of quarterly board reports and organization charts, I think I prefer pretty beakers with happy colors.

    • Thank Tania! Quarterly reports – funny! I use PowerPoint to make really quick “art” for my posts – it’s limiting but that’s what makes it quick ; ) I have to save as a PDF and then convert to jpeg in Gimp (a free Photoshop like program).

  4. Based on my limited interactions with 4-year-olds, he could be tired and hungry and not sure what to do with himself. I like the idea of a snack and a movie from the library. It still seems special, yet isn’t spoiling him.

    I often have to restrain myself from buying something for Simon whenever I want. Especially art supplies and books. The library is AMAZING for filling in the book part. I just don;t want him growing up to think he will get things all the time.

    • Thanks Krista! Groggy I think… because they do have a nap time at school – same result though. We utilize the library to the fullest – ours have some educational toys to check out too.

  5. Pragmatic Mom has some great ideas, I guess that’s why she’s called Pragmatic Mom! :)

    The obsessive toy thing is totally a boy thing based on my experience raising a girl and a boy, and also my memories of my brother who was just covered in toys day and night. Still is, actually!

    • Pragmatic Mom has a great site (with lots of Books recommendations)!

      Glad someone confirmed this for me! My brother wasn’t this way but I think he was the exception.

  6. YOU ARE SO INSIGHTFUL AND SO RIGHT ABOUT THIS. I FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME WAY YOUR 4 YEAR OLD DOES AFTER WORK (OR AN ACCOMPLISHMENT) EVEN WHEN THE THE WORK (OR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT)WAS REWARDING IN ITSELF. I THINK MOST PEOPLE FEEL THIS. I THINK WE FEEL THE NEED TO BE REPLENISHED IN SOME WAY.

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