Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Incentives, Development and Motivation

Each child is different and different things motivate and cause them to 'want' to do something. Jalen is the oldest of the little ones and just sort of rolls with the flow. He always has and that boy has been on the go since the very early weeks of his life. It took him until about 3 to potty train, he held onto a pacifier it seems for just about that long. I tried many different ways to get him to go to the bathroom and to give up that pacifier. From treats, sweets, stickers, small $1 toys and he was not moved by any of them. He did think the stickers were cool but he lost the excitement after a few days. He is not a sweets eater by any stretch of the imagination and didn't even try candy until this past year. The $1 Matchbox cars worked for a little while, but just didn't entice him over the log haul. I tried the Paci Fairy, your a big boy, send it off to a child in need and he just wasn't having it. I even cut the pacifier down as recommended by our Pediatrician to dissuade him from sucking it. A helpful note is don't cut down the last pacifier in the house when you have a child who relies on that to sooth himself and go to sleep. That was a "Sleepless Night in Midlothian" which required an emergency visit to Walmart and quick sterilization to bring peace and rest back to the house. For him it just took age and readiness and he started using the bathroom and gave up that pacifier....FINALLY!! Our new task are coloring/hand writing, catching a ball and riding a bike. Not necessarily in that order. I'm sure in 'his' time he will master these tasks too. He is playing soccer this season and I casually threw out a challenge/reward to him. If he scored a goal I'd get him a Star Wars toy. Well right up until his next game he doubted he could do it, but I'm happy to announce that he upped his level of intensity on the field this week. He was very instrumental in his team scoring a goal. Did he make it? Well if you take the little girl from the other team who put a foot on the ball he kicked to the net out of the equation, then he 'likely' unassisted would have scored one. His version is the girl thought his kick needed 'help' so she kicked at it too. This proved to me that if something means enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

Reya never really cared for a pacifier. She potty trained closer to 3, writes, colors, and pedals with ease. She is a mother's helper and my little Miss Independent. She has the sweetest heart. Simple praise and affirmation are great motivators for her. The thing about her is she has to be in the mood to 'want' to do it or you likely won't get much out of her at all. This has been proven time and time again, don't let the sweet face fool ya! Reya also loves 'all' things sweet. She has a major sweet tooth and can be persuaded to do a thing or two for a treat. The one thing we have not been able to conquer is sucking her finger. It's the oddness thing. We tried several things, to include "Thum" which is supposed to deter the finger sucking after the first application. Well it didn't phase her at all. There are finger guards you can buy but they are mainly for the thumb. She sucks her index finger. She mainly does this when she is tired. We've tried some other things to soothe her when she is transitioning to rest or sleep periods, but have not been successful. We may be tackling this one for a while. Everyone including the Dr. and Dentist have been encouraging her to give it up, but she has yet to let this one go. I have friends who were finger/thumb suckers and it took them years to outgrow it. Some admit they still do it. The visual of my daughter sucking on this finger beyond 4 is troubling, but we'll keep working on it.

A pacifier never intrigued Kinley. She potty trained within weeks of her 2nd birthday. That training took about a week to accomplish. She also has a bit of a sweet tooth and her potty training was exclusively due to her love of a sweet reward. On occasion she'll have a incident, but I guess with two siblings ahead of her that are already handling their business on the potty, she was 'all in' on the concept of going to the bathroom. Makinley is motivated by fun!! She writes and colors exceptionally well for her age. I'm amazed that she has the grip down. She loves 'capturing' and kicking a ball. Her hand-eye coordination is awesome. We watched her swinging a bat the other day and had she connected with that ball it would have been dangerous. She is exhibiting great athletic ability and interest. Not to mention she is fearless....a chip off the old block!

Paris potty trained at 2 also. Took to a pacifier, but easily gave it up. She rode a bike at a early age and was motivated by encouragement and belief. Knowing that you believed in her was half the battle. She enjoyed sticker charts and working toward larger goals. Allowance was also a big plus for her. That hasn't changed, but she works hard for her money. She participated in a lot of activities when she was younger. Soccer, gymnastics, dance, swimming, scouts, piano, horseback riding and eventually softball. We won't talk about how the owner of the stable thought she was a natural with horseback riding and encouraged her to continue. What was supposed to be a fun summer camp activity turned into Paris begging us to buy or rent a horse so she continue down this path. She was often recognized for her great natural athletic ability. With hard work and determination she will continue to achieve great things.

Each of the children are so unique. We've had the joy and sometimes pain of watching things unfold for Paris. We now get to see how much these current challenges, incentives and paths change over the course of time for the younger ones.

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