Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pennies Add Up, A.K.A. Bribery

I shamelessly staged this photo.

Sometimes I bribe my children.  I prefer to call it an incentive, because that sounds better and I don't feel like a bad parent. 

Back when I was in fourth grade, I hated to read.  One day my dad went to a parent teacher conference, and Mrs. Ertel told him that I needed to improve my reading skills.  She suggested paying me a "penny a page" for a while, and then maybe I would like reading more.  My mom and dad were not sure what to think about that, but they gave it a try.  One day, after I had read almost every Beverly Cleary book ever written and probably several other books as well, I told my dad that he owed me $20.  He was kind of shocked, but he paid me, and after that I liked to read just for the fun of it and did it for free.  Now you would have to pay me to stop reading, but I'd probably just sneak books under my covers with a flashlight.

At any rate, I decided to use this method with my children during Kindergarten when they were emergent readers, and I pay them through the second grade.  They receive a penny a page or sometimes a penny a minute, depending on the book, and we keep a log.  I currently pay Jason about $5-6 per month. I happen to think it's a good investment even if it is bribery incentivizing (that's not even a word). 


I use incentives for the dentist, too.  A friend of mine once gave her son a Nintendo DS for not having any cavities, because she said it was cheaper than a dentist's bill for a filling.  Well, there's no way my kids are getting game systems out of me, but after Josh got a couple cavities, I started paying him and his brother $5 a piece when they visit the dentist and get a "no cavities" report.  It saves time, money, and pain, and I figure they are learning very good brushing and flossing skills through this incentive program.

Are you judging me yet?? I really wouldn't blame you.

It is the price I pay for having literate children with shiny white teeth.  Bless you, Mrs. Ertel, wherever you may be.



9 comments:

Sara said...

This is awesome! One of my best friends was incentivized as a kid with the "penny-a-page" thing and she is now an avid reader who would probably sneak books too. Oh, and I think incentivizing is a word.

CoachZ said...

Jason did not want to smile nice! Kept saying, "I can't hold this smile anymore!"

Glad they are good readers! I didn't want to read until I was in my early 30s ;-)

Denise said...

i'm fine with incentivizing. i actually have to take books away from noah to punish him. kid loves to read ( i don't know where he came from).

he could use some incentivizing in the cavity department.

Susan said...

I have zero problem with this! Whatever works I say.
Readers ARE leaders!!

Laura said...

I bribe with food

hmmmmmm.................

that must be why my children are enormous!
ENORMOUSLY good children :-)

Heather said...

I do this all the time. It's totally incentive, not bribery. My kids are good readers, so my incentives are more for household chores. I am really liking that dentist incentive. May just have to follow your lead on that one.

cate @ wild ruffle said...

Nothing wrong with a little bribery now and then - I'm all for it if it gets the results you're looking for. Too bad nobody is looking to bribe me for doing the things I don't want to do - I'd love a little extra spending money!;)

Jodi said...

Not judging here, more like wishing I'd heard these ideas earlier! I LOVE kid incentives like this! (Definitely go with incentives ;)

Cassi Brightforest said...

I wish I would have tried this, maybe it wouldn't have taken so long for Mouse to want to read

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