We recently got our 2.5 year old son to give up the bottle by employing a technique used by "Supernanny" (a UK based TV show where Supernanny tames unruly kids). The bottle was broken and he was having a difficult time using it. We told him that we couldn't get him a new one because the fairies had to take his old one and they were going to leave a surprise for him. I guess that seemed like a great deal for him 'cause he went for it. The next day we left the bottle in a bag on the clothes line and when he came back after his nap there was a new prize in it for him. He was a little bit sad to actually let go of the bottle but we told him it was ok and reminded him of the surprise so he didn't mind accepting the loss.

A week later we tried a similar technique to get him on the potty, telling him that the fairies would leave a prize for him if made his poo & pee in the potty. He immediately gave it a try, and within a couple of days he had succeeded in both. The fairies left him a prize and he was delighted.

Within the next few weeks we're thinking about trying that again to get him to give up the (passifier/soother/dummy whatever). It'll probably work and he'll be happy to exchange it for the excitement of a prize, but I'm beginning to wonder if this is 'the right way'?

What are the opinions of other parents on employing this technique to encourage children to give up / adopt certain habbits or practices?

asked 18 May '10, 13:16

DaveDev's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 18 May '10, 18:14

+1 Great question !

(18 May '10, 15:36) Emi

You may want to check out this similar question http://moms4mom.com/questions/343/do-you-think-its-a-good-idea-to-bribe-your-kids-for-them-to-do-something

(18 May '10, 18:35) Tammy ♦♦

Hey, if it works, use it!

Basically you're using rewards with a charming story to convince your little guy to do things he might otherwise be resistant to, which in my experience works great with toddlers and pre-schoolers. And school age kids. And teenagers. And adults. (I mean it's not like my partner and I havn't ever had the "I'll do bedtime by myself tonight, if you'll walk to the store and get me an ice-cream..." "Deal!" conversation!)

The only thing to be carefull of is not to overuse it so he ends up expecting the fairies to visit everytime he uses the potty or gains a new skill. We want them to know that learning something new can be its own reward too, right?

(But it sounds like you're only using it for really big stuff, so good for you for finding what works for your kid and adding some fairydust as icing on he cake.) :)


answered 18 May '10, 15:25

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

+1 Equally great answer!!!
I agree with not over using it and just add that as your little one grows physically and intellectually, I think increased dialog coupled with appropriate time investment will promote great reasoning skills for your little one too !

(18 May '10, 15:41) Emi

A parenting course that we have done is called Toolbox. The message behind the name is as parents we need to have a toolbox of techniques to use in our parenting. What works for one child may not necessarily work for another and what works one week or for one situation may not work the next week or another situation.

One of the sessions covers 15 different techniques for engaging cooperation. They separate this from dicipline(or as they call tools for handling the hot spots). Reward which is essentially what you are doing is one technique.

I don't think it is bad idea but I wouldn't try doing it too much as your child may start to expect it to for smaller things.


answered 19 May '10, 00:37

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

+1 that sounds really interesting!

(19 May '10, 06:40) Emi
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Asked: 18 May '10, 13:16

Seen: 3,321 times

Last updated: 19 May '10, 00:37