17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pumpkin Studs and Practicing

This past year I have shared some concerns I have had both with choosing an instrument for Pukey to study, and whether or not to get her ears pierced.

I never would have predicted that these two things would collide in our universe.

Shortly after I posted about piercing her ears at the tender age of 5 years old (or not), she decided that she was ready. We went to Claire's as a family and got her ears pierced the weekend before kindergarten started.

Though she had been practicing her instrument, the violin, all summer, the commencement of school meant getting really serious about practicing. We are now committing to practicing every day. YUP. Every single day. The school has a (probably cheesy) incentive program to complete 100 days of practicing before the 1st semester is up, which we are participating in, but more importantly is our own personal practice calender, filled with incentives.

Since Pukey is only 5, I can make things incentives that we are probably going to do anyway. For example, we were going to participate in our ward Camping Trip regardless, but I made that a prize after 3 solid weeks of practicing. She is young enough that I knew it would work, that we wouldn't NOT go. Actually, we ended up not going because of a flat tire, but that's beside the point.

Aside from those types of incentives (you get to go trick or treating, you get to celebrate Thanksgiving with your cousins, you get to open Chrismas presents ON Christmas), the next best thing has been earning EARRINGS.

The promise of a pair of pumpkin studs after 6 weeks of practicing was MORE than enough motivation to practice her violin every morning at 7 am. If she ever whined, I just reminded her of the earrings and it was like magic. She reached her goal today and I ended up getting her a 3-pack of Halloween earrings, and today she chose to wear the ghosts. While at Claires I picked up 2 multi-packs with about 9 or 12 pairs of little earrings on each one. My plan is to cut them up into individual pairs and stick them to her practice chart, maybe every 3 weeks. This is motivating her to no end. I actually think this may be sustainable for the entire school year.

So, the moral of my post is that bribery works! If I had waited to get her ears pierced at 10 or 12, I don't think one solitary pair of little stud earrings would be nearly as exciting to practice for, as it is at this age. Now, I just need to figure out what WILL be exciting then, for the upcoming practice charts... Ay ya ya.


  • I think it's great that you found something which will work for your daughter! I just make mine practice for nothing. She just really wants to learn right now, so I haven't had to come up with something. But I know it won't last! :)

    I always wonder what the parents of my piano students use to get their kids to practice. Sometimes, it's just my policy: if they show up to a lesson without having practiced, they get sent home without a lesson; but the fee still stands. Since implementing said policy, my students come prepared nearly every week. Of course, there's always an occasional excuse (illness, family vacation), but for the most part, I don't allow excuses.

    I should ask them what it is they do as incentives.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 12/07/2007 07:58:00 AM  

  • Wow~ that is fantstic! At 7AM? I think I would die if I had to be up practicing anything at 7am. I can barely drag my own self up before 8. I guess I am not a morning person. But to be 5 years old and practicing that religously is truly remarkable. You may have a future prodigy on your hands! I'd love to see what I would have to do to get my DD to practice ANYTHING every single day.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 12/07/2007 09:58:00 AM  

  • I believe in bribes too, but I like to call them "rewards". But I really try to never have a reward be something we are going to do anyway -- just like I try to never have a consequence of bad behaviorl be something I would not actually follow through on. Good luck with continuing to find good incentives! My piano teacher gave "panda points" but I can't even remember what we could redeem them for.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 12/08/2007 08:43:00 AM  

  • I let my daughter get her ears pierced at age 3 1/2 as a reward for going two weeks solid with no wet pants (on the tail end of potty training). It worked like a charm. I kept telling her how much it was gonna hurt and she just sucked it up and was a big girl. I told her she couldn't even cry - she could just say "ouch" once as loudly as she wanted. When we got to Claire's the lady was super sweet and told her it wasn't going to hurt that bad and that she could cry if she wanted. I went right up behind the lady and said "No, it's gonna hurt a LOT and you can say 'ouch' as loud as you want. Once." The lady looked at me like I was evil but in the end my daughter didn't even say anything - I think she was in shock. Rewards are a totally reliable way of teaching in my opinion.
    posted by Blogger Nancy Sabina at 12/11/2007 06:41:00 AM  

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