The Magic of Motivation…with a little help from Chuck E. Cheese

A while ago a friend asked me for ideas to help motivate her child to brush her teeth. I know many people struggle with issues of motivation, whether dealing with special needs children or typical kids, so let’s look at some ways to get your child to cooperate with your requests – or the teacher’s requests, or the coach’s requests….you get the idea..

ChuckECheese HW 1st CalendarKey in to what the child wants. Kids (and most adults) don’t believe in “something for nothing” but the simple “if, then” equation makes sense to them. The “then” part is up to you, but it will be more effective if the child is working toward earning something they value. Extra video game time seems to be a hot commodity in my house, but it could also be a certain item, a trip to a movie or a later bedtime. Make sure the task and the reward are equal – setting the table one night may earn an extra 5 minutes of bedtime, while an entire week of doing it can be rewarded with a bigger privilege like a trip to a movie.

By now you probably have the word bribery floating around in your mind, but remember that bribery is illegal and usually involves getting someone to do something that is also illegal. This is the very scientific method of behavioral conditioning. Basically you can increase a desired behavior (doing homework, brushing teeth) by positively reinforcing the act whenever it occurs. You can use a chore chart or marbles in jar or any other method of tracking behavior. You can also use these methods to reduce an undesired behavior, like nose picking or swearing or whatever else you find to be an issue in your house.

You can get pre-made behavior charts all over the internet, like here from Chuck e. Cheese, or you can make them yourself. They don’t need to be fancy, but they do need to be true to your child. And you need to be true to your word – don’t promise something you are not willing to actually provide (like a puppy) because if properly motivated your kids will shock you with their earning power. And don’t feel that the rewards need to be something that will break the bank – sometimes just a “mommy and me” afternoon is enough.

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


3 Responses to “The Magic of Motivation…with a little help from Chuck E. Cheese”

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!