Over the last couple of months, I’ve managed to start getting Miss 4 more engaged in learning to read, write, and count. Before this, she seemed to hate anything to do with letters and numbers as she has a fear of trying new things and failing. It was like she was already convinced she couldn’t do it even before trying it. So what made her change? CANDY.
I know it seems like such a terrible parenting decision to offer candy bribes to learn, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do! I’m not a pushy parent at all and I always thought that she would overcome this learning issue in kindergarten but she was nearing the end of it and still wasn’t the least bit motivated to learn. I didn’t want her starting her foundation year of primary school in a few months’ time with this attitude as I felt like the formal school environment might make her shut off even more…so I decided I had to step it up at home and bring out the big guns.
I was comfortable offering sweets as a bribe because her personality is very conservative. A little goes a long way with her. She is not the kind to overdose if given free reign. So one of the first activities we did with candy was this rainbow sprinkles writing tray. I just got a cheap bottle of sprinkles from our local supermarket and poured half the bottle into a baking tray. It wasn’t exactly the most vibrant rainbow, but that obviously was no big deal for Miss 4. Rainbow sprinkles are rainbow sprinkles to them!
I wrote the alphabet on some post-it notes for Miss 4 to copy and trace in the sprinkles with her finger. She jumped straight into the activity as soon as she saw it. I thought we would only just do a few letters that day but she kept asking to do more and we ended up going through the entire alphabet, some letters a few times over. Every now and then, I let her eat a pinch of sprinkles as a reward. It seriously took me by surprise how enthusiastic she was about this activity- I had never ever seen her so keen to learn before. She was even asking me to show her the right way to write the letters, which was a shock because usually she hates asking for help.
Miss 1 later came along and enjoyed getting her hands into the sprinkles too 😄
After doing so well with the writing activity, I let her do some free play and she chose to throw in her Shopkins.
After just a week or two of using candy as a reward for literacy and math activities, I noticed a change in Miss 4’s attitude towards learning. She was a lot more intrinsically motivated. She didn’t ask for candy straight away and sometimes she didn’t ask for it at all. She just wanted to learn. She was excited she could start reading some words in books or signs around her, and started asking how to write certain words to put on her drawings. Candy just helped get her over that initial fear of learning something new and realise she can do things which appear difficult at first.
So, the moral of the story is…BRIBES WORK 😂