For the duration of my parenting adventures I have wondered about prizes and rewards. At the dentist they give the kids useless small toys that die or get lost within minutes. There are the ubiquitous sticker rewards. There is the
promise bribe of frozen yogurt or a new toy after a shot…
The problems abound. Sugar treats are…well…lots of refined sugar and not a relationship I want them to build with food. I love sweet treats as celebration, but not as a reward or bribe. The problems around new toys are…good grief! We don't need more stuff! Especially of the cheap gimcrack variety.
I can't believe I didn't figure it out until now.
A new box of crayons or pack of markers is always thrilling (no matter your age!). Art supplies encourage things that are important – creativity, self-expression, etc. – linking rewards to these feelings instead of to sugar. Art supplies are constantly needing to be replaced anyway; we are always using up crayons and markers and pencils. And even if we don't need new crayons, its hard to have too many crayons. There are so many things to be done with old crayons!
I'm glad I figured this out for us. A reward for an uncomfortable activity such as a doctor visit that everyone feels good about. And can be easily combined into a project with the ubiquitous stickers…