The Magic of Stickers

It was my SIL2 that first started using sticker rewards on Gavin with some amount of success.  After that she shifted to Thomas the Tank Engine badges because it was obvious that a Thomas reward worked far better than any old sticker.  It was only when I bought Gavin a Thomas Sticker Book with 700 stickers that I realised the true power of stickers.

My friend and mother of my god daughter told me they used a lot of sticker rewards at my god daughter’s play school.  “Finish your water and you can have a sticker,” “wash your hands and you can have a sticker”, and so it goes.  Whenever they needed the toddlers to do anything they weren’t willing to do, a sticker would always do the trick.

Although the first lot of stickers we bought for Gavin didn’t exactly work like magic, I think they were great for setting the stage of stickers as a reward.  They taught Gavin that if he did something we asked, he’d get a sticker.  While he liked the yellow chicks on the stickers, he wasn’t crazy about them, so if the task he had to do to get the sticker was too much to his dislike, the sticker reward simply wouldn’t work.

The magical effect of stickers didn’t really take on a whole different meaning until I bought the Thomas Sticker book.  Now, whenever I offer him a sticker reward, he’ll usually come willingly.  For those nasty tasks he dislikes, I can often read the tormoil in his expression as he wrestles between his dislike for the task and his desire for the sticker.  If he’s struggling too hard to get off the fence, I’ll sweeten the deal with two stickers – one before he does the task and one he’ll get after he completes the task.  So far, it’s worked fairly consistently.

And since we have 700 different Thomas and Friends stickers, I think it’ll be a while before he gets bored of these…

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The added bonus from this book are the pictures of trains that Gavin can practice colouring in.  Perhaps now Mummy can take a break from drawing ugly trains that only her own toddler would recognise…

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About the author

Shen-Li Shen-Li is a stay-home mum to two boys who have been the inspiration for her interest in early childhood development and early child education. She searches for the balance in child development methods and the educational philosophies that will enable the nurture of happy, confident and successful children. She shares her views and findings at Figur8.


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  1. [...] chart so I could keep track of how many he’d earned.  Once he had earned a certain number of stickers for good behaviour, I was going to reward him with a toy.  The only problem with this idea was that Gavin would keep [...]

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