We're learning a lot about parenting as we go. Despite all the reading and research we try to do, things don't work out quite as well as we theorize they will and inevitably we end up changing our strategy a few times as we go. Hopefully we can learn enough from our experiences to "get it right" with Calvin, but then again each child has his/her own temperament and character.
Take sleep, for example. Kira started out going down for the night quite late, anywhere between 11pm to 2am. She was always such a light sleeper and I made the mistake of nursing her until she would fall asleep. I changed this after reading so many articles denouncing this practice. Then there were several months on end when I had to be stroking her head for her to fall asleep, and quite often she'd wake up as I tried to sneak out of her room. As she got older, this progressed to having to hold her hand. Things got better by the time she was a year and a half, but then regressed once she was transitioned to a big-girl bed (which we had to do because we needed the crib for the coming baby). Long story short, the thing that seems to work well for Kira has been incentives!
When we started potty-training Kira, we'd give her a sticker for every successful trip to the toilet. She still asks for a sticker every so often, but now she just knows when she needs to go, and we're smiling at the success of the milestone and the low cost of her reward (thank you, Dollarama, for selling 250 stickers for a buck!). We're also pretty conscious about providing healthy meals and very little junk food at home, so every yummy treat offered to Kira is like gold in her eyes. We tell her that if she eats a good meal, she can have a treat. The above photo is Kira with her coveted half-cookie that she received from Auntie Naomi last weekend, but we only let her have it today because she ate an impressive breakfast!
The funniest "incentive" we have to admit, is the vitamin. Kira gets a chewable vitamin every day. We started her on them because as with most 2-year-olds, every day is a different story on whether she'll eat well or not. So after consulting with her doctor, we decided to try starting her on fruit-flavoured vitamins. Whoa! Kira thinks they're candy! She begs for them all day long! So now her "reward" for taking an afternoon nap, is her vitamin when she wakes up! Here's Kira showing off her orange vitamin for a nap well-taken! :)
Our reward has lately been a better night's sleep, and a child who is a bit more willing to try new foods. Hopefully we won't have to resort to incentives all the time for Calvin, but we'll have to see what his character is like!