Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Friend Kimberly is a Freakin' GENIUS!!!

We've had issues with Zane's behavior. He's a three year old with plans for world domination, and we are his parents. We would be happy if he picked up his toys. Or went to bed without a fight. Or brushed his teeth. We were using a sticker chart for these behaviors, but the boy started gaming the system. Then he got bored with the whole sticker concept. Particularly at bedtime.

Zane is very adept at the delay tactic when it comes to bedtimes. We get him upstairs and he has to get his pillow, which he took downstairs that morning.

Then he has to have his blanket. Next it's juice.

Then it's the Toy Du Jour, which must be found.

Then we must read How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

Then Zane announces that he has to go to the bathroom.

When we finally get him into bed, he must be completely covered with the blanket. Then he must be completely uncovered. On and on and on.

One evening, in the middle of a particularly frustrating battle over bedtime, I told Zane that if he didn't get into bed this minute, Santa wasn't going to bring him a present. Zane heard his very favoritest word, 'present', and he jumped right into bed and was out five minutes later. Eureka, I thought. I told my husband what had happened. He was as shocked and amazed as I was, but skeptical.

"Santa Claus?" Larry said. "That sounds weird. I hope that you are not blogging about this. People will point and laugh when they see us."

"They point and laugh at us now," I responded. "Do you have a better idea, Brightest Star in the Sky?" When I start using elaborate endearments like this, Larry is smart enough to detect that I am being sarcastic. Since he couldn't come up with a better idea, we added Santa and his present to our evening routine. After Zane was asleep, we would go and get a small toy and put it under his pillow for him to find the next morning. If Zane did not go to sleep within a reasonable time, no Santa.

Then my friend Kimberly, who is over at The Only Child Chronicles shared on Facebook that her son Lex would do a lot of things for a poker chip.

A poker chip? I had an idea rolling around in the back of my head about using Chuck E Cheese coins to 'pay' Zane for doing his chores, but some jerk broke into our car and stole all the CC coins out of the glove box. And that was that.

A poker chip. How can we make a poker chip something that Zane would be interested in? I talked to Larry about this.

"What if we put stickers of super heroes on the poker chips?" Larry said.

"Brilliant!" I yelled, which you probably shouldn't do in church. We found some poker chips at Walmart and some sticker paper. Larry found some pictures of superheroes on the interwebs. He printed them out and we painstakingly cut the stickers out and applied them to the coins. We also printed out some stickers with the letter Z on them. Z-coins, we call them.

We told Zane that Santa had decided to start giving Zane these Z-coins because he couldn't always get here on time. He bought it. We started handing out the poker chips very liberally at first.

Zane LOVES it. He will do anything for a poker chip. Kimberly was right!

After an adjustment period, we started telling him that he could use his chips to "buy' toys. Yay us, for getting it.


  1. Holy crap!! I'm glad it's working for you guys! I honestly find the master manipulating thing the best part of parenting. Kidding...but only slightly ;-)

  2. This is awesome! My three-year-old son is EXACTLY the same way. Suppose I ought to go out and buy some poker chips.

  3. Where were you when my son was this age?! Do you think the trick would work on an 18 year old?
    Seriously. ... maybe those stickers ... hhmmmm


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