Apparently it makes no sense to ask a preschooler to earn daily stickers for listening and following directions in order to collect three (sadly we started with an overly ambitious five, but I digress) of these stickers to later cash in for a prize from the “prize box.” Who knew that three year olds had no concept of delaying minor gratification en route to acquiring a more major gratification somewhere down the road? Actually, it stands to reason that anyone with a child psychology degree would know that this was a poor idea. And I’m fairly certain most preschool teachers could have warned us it wouldn’t work, although our son’s teachers didn’t when we told them about our plan to improve his school-related behavior issues. Maybe they needed a new, funny story to share during nap time, “remember Gus’ parents? How they thought they could get him to work towards a prize by racking up stickers for behaving appropriately? In preschool? Bwah ha ha ha! Wish I could been a fly on the wall for those tantrums!”
Those tantrums would not have disappointed, they were technicolor and could have captioned with Batmanesque onomatopoeia cut outs.
But we get it now. Now we do. And we’re here to tell you, you won’t be able to get your three year old to buy into a multi-step behavior program. It won’t work. Unless they are the type of kid who doesn’t need a behavior modification program in the first place. In which case, enjoy yourself now, and know that we’re not-so-secretly hoping you get yours when your kid’s a teenager. Don’t worry, our kid will be sitting right next to yours, hopefully on the bench in the office and not in the back of a cruiser…