Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Motivation for a 2 year old....

Sometimes finding ways to motivate a 2 year old can be challenging.... They like to do it their way and for the most part they are stubborn. Well, talk about stubborn- this mommy is stubborn so it is my job to find ways to motivate my 2 year old along the way :) Here is our latest motivation story and then it is your job to tell me a way you motivate your kiddo, so that I can use your expertise the next time around!!
So, Ivy has always been a good sleeper. She slept in her room, in her bed the first day home from the hospital (this may or may not be because she was 2 feet from us in our formally 900 sq. ft. townhouse). She slept through night at 8 weeks old and we really never had problems unless she was sick. This was until about November of this year.... yes, she was now 2 years old and letting a 2 year old cry it out was simply too difficult for me. She was sick for a little while and then our heat broke, so those were my excuses. We started bad habits of putting her in our bed, sometimes before midnight. Ladies, we have a full size bed... not large enough for 2 adults, 2 cats, and a squirmy 2 year old!! Two months passed by, we were tired and were experiencing the interrupted sleep of a newborn so we had to do something. So a sticker chart it was!!
I got a 20 spot chart and filled it with rewards that she chose for every third day (you will see the picture rewards on the chart, that she didn't want to cover with stickers). She got things from m and m's, a trip to the dollar store, pink ice cream, and ending with a trip to Chuckee Cheese. This worked for Ivy like a charm! All but 2 days, in the stretch of 20 days, she earned a sticker. We were so proud of her and how well this worked for us. We talked the chart up and bragged on her, showing it off to family, friends, and her babysitter. This is the way we motivated her at night and it worked wonders, but where we struggle is motivating her to do things during the day. I am looking for ways to encourage her to help clean up her toys or to use good table manners! I would love to hear how you motivate your kiddos and maybe your way will work for us.


  1. Considering my child is just 6 weeks old now and I'm working on just getting her to nap in her crib rather than in my arms, I don't have much advice. BUT I wanted to say that I think you're a wonderful mom & I will definitely be using this idea when Isis is older!!

  2. What a great idea and great success you had! With #2 on the way, Colin is going to have to give up his crib soon so we're starting to talk about the big boy bed. This sticker chart might just be the perfect idea.

    Colin has always been really good at picking up his toys but I've tried to enforce that from the beginning. We don't leave a room without cleaning up our mess. It can take A LOT of time for him to do it but he does. He's getting quicker, especially if the mess is keeping him from something he really wants to do.

    Now the table manners...we're still working on that one!

  3. What a great idea! I'll have to keep that in mind when Bailey's next stubborn streak shows itself.

    As for picking up her toys, we just sing a "clean up" song and she really seems to like that. She's also not allowed to play with any other toys before she picks up, which usually works wonders. Table manners...I don't really know that we've used any sort of motivation, we just always reinforce the idea of good manners and it seems to be working.

  4. We went through this very thing with Kaylan! We basically just did the same thing you're doing and rewarded her with some goodies and fun little outings. When we first had problems we'd still let her come into our bed in the mornings and snuggle if she had a good night. Now it's become routine and she comes in at about 6:30 and we all love it. I also let her sleep in bed with me if Aaron is ever gone for a special treat and she always gets so excited.

    Aaron's parents did the best thing with toys... They would have their 5 kids pick up their toys and anything left lying around got put into the "gunny bag" (not sure how they came up with the name) and in order to get their toys back they had to help out in some way. With Kaylan I just get out our special bag and chase her around saying the gunny bag is going to eat her toys and she thinks it's so funny and hurries and puts everything away.

  5. Such a cute idea:) We are making the big move into the big girl bed in the next two weeks now that we have heat in her room, so this could be one of our tricks!

    Otherwise, Ella's works well for positive reinforcement for all things! Whether it is praise, a high five or a small treat, she will eat up the positive attention. She loves getting to get an ice cream cone from Mc Donald's, buying new finger nail polish, etc. When she was smaller we sang the "clean up song" most of the time when we picked up toys.


Thanks for your encouragement as I travel through this season of life called mommyhood!