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To bribe my six-year-old to work harder

(16 Posts)
Snowglobe1 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:47:50

I have six-year-old twin sons in Y1. One is naturally studious, one is just as bright but a more relaxed personality. He doesn't enjoy schoolwork as much.

His handwriting is really, really terrible. Almost illegible. Tonight, he was doing some homework and asked me to write down 'alligator'. I did, and in a fit of frustration told him if he copied it as neatly as he could, I'd give him a gel pen I had.

I went to cook and 30 seconds later he was done. It normally takes 10 minutes for him to write a sentence.

It was amazing handwriting. I couldn't believe the same child had written it....turns out he can do it if he has an incentive.

I'm tempted to tell him that if I ask his teacher (who is concerned about his writing) in a week's time, and she tells me he has written neatly that week, I'll buy him a small toy.

Would you do it? If not, what would you do? Thank you.

Gobletofgin Tue 12-Jan-16 21:17:05

Yes I would do it, there's nothing wrong IMO with giving treats or incentives for working at things. Because you have twins there should be something similar though, is there something his brother needs to improve (eating veg, making bed) that he could earn a treat for too.

LouLouLockets Tue 12-Jan-16 21:24:33

What about a reward chart instead? So 5 stickers (5 good days of HW), small prize.

Otherwise it's going to get expensive.

dietcokeandwine Tue 12-Jan-16 21:28:30

I would.

I bribe incentivise my three all the time.

My ds2 is also 6 and in y1. Bright and capable and can be lazy when the mood take him. It's amazing how a little bit of bribery focuses the mind!

We do sticker charts which link in to pocket money (they get a basic amount each which varies depending on age, and can top it up with extra money per sticker earned) and I find DS2 will do anything for an extra sticker or two!

Agree with pp about incentivising both of them though. Your naturally studious boy should also have the chance to earn extra treats.

timemaychangeme Tue 12-Jan-16 21:28:53

I agree, if you think of if as a reward or an incentive rather than a bribe, then imo that's fine. As adults we often work best if we have an incentive: work harder at work if there's a promotion in the offing, get a bonus if we meet targets, go to the gym more willingly if we have a goal etc etc.
Even when my dd was at GCSE/A level age, I made a little 'advent calender' for revision. So when she'd completed the hours she had agreed she needed to do (but found incredibly hard/boring and relentless), she could open a little envelope with a hair tie/bit of chocolate/sample size shower gel etc. They were just cheap and cheerful little rewards but she loved opening them each day. It was also a tangible daily reminder for her that I recognised it was a slog and she was finding it tough going, and wanted to reward her effort. Hope it works for your ds. And I agree with Goblet that it would be good if his db also has an opportunity to earn treats too so it's fair.

dietcokeandwine Tue 12-Jan-16 21:35:07

timemay what a lovely idea. I might have to borrow that one in a few years when ds1 hits GCSE revision time!

timemaychangeme Tue 12-Jan-16 21:46:08

dietcokeandwine thank you. She really responded to it. It was so hard for her because many of her friends were naturally incredibly clever and did minimum to no revision ever, yet always got top marks. DD had to really slog hard for everything though and never did quite as well as the others. I really felt for her. She hated studying, struggled with some subjects and just wanted to be out with her mates.

She is a teacher now and is always incredibly generous in dishing out heaps of praise, stickers, video of choice on Friday afternoons, extra time on the computer, outings etc etc. Anything that will encourage the kids to keep trying their best. She can relate to them being reluctant to keep going with things they don't enjoy, don't find easy I think.

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 12-Jan-16 21:49:22

I also have 6 year old twins, one of whom is more studious than the other! I've been resisting using this sort of incentive other than very occasionally for two reasons. 1) It only works occasionally! 2) Everything I've been reading on motivation indicates that it is much better to nurture intrinsic motivation (where someone gets a good feeling from doing the thing themselves) than extrinsic (bribes or praise). So I try instead to concentrate on reminding her of what she enjoys about doing something - along the lines of "how does it feel to be able to do that?" (smiling brightly!). "Did you manage that all by yourself?" (smiling brightly!). Etc.

Sometimes bribery is necessary though!

edwinbear Tue 12-Jan-16 22:18:40

I've just ordered a new 'Where's Wally' book, which was ds (6 Y2) treat of choice for getting full marks in both his spelling and times tables tests this week. YANBU.

Gobbolino6 Tue 19-Jan-16 19:44:01

Thanks everyone!

rosewithoutthorns Tue 19-Jan-16 19:45:35

I totally agree with a bit of bribery.

Gobbolino6 Tue 19-Jan-16 19:48:55

I adore the advent calendar idea. I do want to work on intrinsic motivation so I might start with a combination of the two approaches.

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Tue 19-Jan-16 20:14:49

YANBU but be aware that this can escalate. My DM ended up paying my DSIS minimum wage to revise for her GCSEs. It got expensive but was successful!

VoldysGoneMouldy Tue 19-Jan-16 20:26:26

Going against the grain a little bit maybe here, but I think I'd be more tempted to keep that piece of work he's done and blue tack it where he does he writing as a reminder that he can do it. And spend a little bit more time reminding him, encouraging him - not saying you don't do that already,

DS has an extensive vocabulary and is trying to get so much down on the paper (the latest story I looked at was seven A4 pages long) in a short space of time that his handwriting gets progressively worse as the work goes on. Empathize on the handwriting front!!

CakeThat Tue 19-Jan-16 20:50:12

Incentives and rewards are great. At that age I gave my DD 20p for going to bed on time grin

Excited101 Tue 19-Jan-16 21:50:52

Nope, sorry. I've researched the same stuff as BoomBooms and it isn't generally a good idea for that sort of thing.

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