I wasn’t prepared.
When I said, “if you open your mouth and let me brush your teeth we can finish watching Caillou,” I fully expected to get a screaming, “NO!” in my face. Instead, Alex opened his mouth and let me brush his teeth. When I was finished, he asked, “Caillou now?”
I thought it was a fluke.
When I told Alex, “If you put all of your dinosaurs away I will pull out those blocks that you so desperately want to play with,” I fully expected nothing to happen. For the dinosaurs to stay sprawled out all over the floor and for the incessant, “bocks! Peeeease?” to continue. But instead, Alex put away every single one of his dinosaurs and then asked for help pulling his blocks out from under the table.
I thought it was just a coincidence. He just happened to put his dinosaurs away when I wanted him to.
“If you walk up to your room and let me change your diaper we can go outside and blow bubbles.” He not only walked, he ran to his room. And he didn’t kick, scream, or fight me at all while I was changing his diaper. Then, we played with bubbles.
Whenever he wants to pull out more than two toys/sets of toys, I tell him he has to put one away in order to get the other one out. “If you want to play with the Little People blocks, you have to put away your dinosaurs or the cars.” The most amazing thing is that he then puts away some of his toys.
This bargaining? Is awesome. While Alex is often very good about most things, on those times when he decides he needs to have something RIGHT.NOW or he absolutely will not do whatever it is I need him to do? “If you do X, we can do Y” always works.
The other day, this is what I overheard:
Alex: “Help! Balloon. Can’t reach it! Daddy help. Too far away. Need the help!”
Zach: “If you give me a kiss I’ll get it for you.”
Worked like a charm. Alex gave a kiss and got his balloon.
It may not be the best way to get affection, but I may try that next time I need a little love.
“If you give me a big hug, I’ll let you drink out of that big glass again.”