As we sat chatting after dinner tonight, Emily was telling me about her recent victory with piano practice with one of the kids she nannies. She and this sweet red-head have always argued about this discipline and since I teach piano lessons, she's always asked me how to help her kiddos … and get them to do it willingly.
I've never had the answer. Really! I've NEVER had the answer.
I know you expected me to, but I FAILED the class that taught that method. Sorry, Mrs. Hermann … I know you wished for more for my musical career. (Truth is, Mrs. Hermann knew that I had no chance in the musical world! Truth also is … I never failed a class in college.)
Tonight, Emily reminded me of something that I should've remembered because I used it when I was potty-training her: BRIBERY.
It works. It's not the preferred method, but when all else fails, an authority figure must resort to it. I most certainly used bribery when I potty-trained and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I know you did it, too, so stop judging me. It went something like this:
"You want an M&M? Fine … do the deed, kid!"
"See how easy that was? Now … do it every time! M&Ms! I promise you all the M&Ms in the world! JUST.DO.IT! EVERY TIME!"
Em told me about how she was trying to get the red-headed sweetheart to practice her "Daily Dozen" … which, clearly indicates that it should be played TWELVE times each day. If you are or have been a piano student, you KNOW that it is an endless repetition of STUPID finger exercises that are meant to form your digits into concert quality condition. It is rarely successful since most students are not interested in giving a concert and usually quit lessons about the time they become interested in the opposite sex. Truth.
Finally, Em thought about how much love this particular girl has for Cheerios! So she laid out cheerios and said, "Play the Daily Dozen and after each one … you get a Cheerio."
Crazy as it sounds … this red-headed sweetheart did just as Emily asked.
Can you believe a kid would play something on the piano TWELVE times to get a lousy twelve Cheerios?! Now if you were talking dark chocolates, I just might indulge, but Cheerios?!
TODAY'S LESSON: Make life simple by finding whatever it is that triggers the buttons and use it to your advantage!
It may not be the fairest tactic available in the Parenting World, but it sure will make life with kids simpler at times when you really need it to do so!