Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Ode to M&Ms

This week's Works for Me has really been working... it's the M&M Incentive. My children rarely get candy and things like that, so when I bought a bag of Christmas colored M&Ms for half price a couple weeks ago, they thought it was great. Since then I have been using then as incentives for different things.

To the dallying Kindergartener, "If you finish all your work before lunch, I'll give you an M&M."

To everyone except the child who has lost a school book, "Whoever finds Emma's Wordly Wise gets an M&M." To which Emma asked, "What if I'm the one who finds it?" and I answered, "Then you get to do your work."

(I'll get suspicious if it starts to look like they go in cahoots to lose books that someone mysteriously finds.... but as of yet they are not staging things for M&M rewards.)

To Nathan, who has a hard time sitting nicely in church. "If you sit perfectly the whole rest of the time, I will give you an M&M when we get home." Next time I looked, he was sitting with his legs crossed, his hands on his knees, and looking straight at the Pastor.

And after Mercy gets her contact in each morning, and out each evening, she gets two. I think that's fair since she has to be held down and have someone stick their fingers in her eye. [She's doing great wearing the patch, by the way... thanks for the prayers!!] If I weren't on this diet I would eat a couple too... it's harrowing.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is not bribery. Bribery is associated with doing something bad. Incentive is a reward to do something GOOD. "Stop screaming in the store, and I'll give you a treat" is bribery.

Incentive is, "Sit nicely in church and I'll give you an M&M." I am rewarding good behavior. "Stop walking all over the row, sit down, and I'll give you an M&M," is bribery. See the difference?

So my recommendation? Keep the children from candy for a while, then get a bag of M&Ms... dole them out carefully so they are really a goal to complete. I promise you'll have success with them!

Head over here to see other people's tips for things that Work for Them!


  1. Ah, yes! M&M's are great incentives. I have a glass jar on a shelf, and both of my daughters know what it means when I walk over to that cupboard. Anytime I catch them doing something good, I will give them one.

    Actually, right now they are playing quietly together with no arguing... Maybe I will take this opportunity to reward that good behavior! :)

    - Carrie

  2. My problem is I eat them all before the kids!

  3. How on earth do you keep them out of your mouth?

  4. They really are not a temptation for me. Now, French Fries or Doritos would be an entirely different story! Plus... I'm trying to lose weight, so I am pretty motivated to NOT waste the time I spent on the treadmill burning those 100 calories by eating a TINY LITTLE M&M! It's pretty good motivation.