Every book writing nanny known to man staunchly supports the process of the reward chart. And a mighty fine system it appears to be at first. Wee in the potty and mummy will put a lovely sticker on your chart. Stay in bed till your sun comes up and we can put a smiley face on your picture. Don’t throw a tantrum in sainsburys and you can have 27 fruit shoots and piece of cake bigger than your face from the cafe.
Within a few short days the Diva realises that being good gets rewards. Fabulous. Oh she’s such a bright little thing I smugly tell myself. She’s learning so fast, and she’s so much more compliant than she used to be. For a few days I feel like I’ve graduated from the school of parenting with at least a 2:1. In reality the Diva takes a week or so to learn that if there’s no reward the task isn’t worth doing. Put my shoes on? Will I get a sticker? Then I’m too busy, sorry. Wee in the potty, I’ve already won the zoo trip, what’s in it for me? I’ll just piss myself, it’s easier. Before long we have about 14 different reward charts going on and I’ve lost track of what I’m trying to achieve. She might put her shoes on in a few seconds now, but it takes us longer to leave the house as she agonises over which is exactly the right fish sticker to represent her amazing footwear success on the chart.
Yet again I’ve been outwitted by my 3 year old. Why am I surprised? I haven’t slept properly in years and my main mental stimulus is supplied by Mr Tumble, realistically I could probably be outwitted by a teaspoon.
In the end I start my own chart, go a day without scowling at the children and you can have wine, do the washing up and you can eat a Swiss roll (yes a whole one, don’t judge me). Brush your hair before the school run and you can have a poo on your own. Suddenly we’re all winners!