Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sticker Chart

Princess is three years old.  Three and a half, actually.  It's time for her to sleep (all night) in her own bed.  Some of you say she should have done that years ago.  Others of you say let her stay with us until she moves out.  Whatever your opinion, this has been our parenting decision.

Princess has been going to bed in her own bed just fine for a while now.  The problem is that she comes into our room in the middle of the night and crawls into bed with us.  I wouldn't have too much of a problem with this, but she tosses and turns and thrashes about.  I already have Flower in bed with me.  I don't want Princess to accidentally injure her.  Thus, I stay up all night trying to ward off Princess's attacks.  It's seriously more exhausting than waking up every couple of hours.

We tried talking about being a "big girl."  We made her room into a pink princess getaway.  She has a nightlight.  She has a unicorn pillow pet thing that shoots stars onto the walls and ceiling.  She has her dolls and stuffed animals.  I know none of this is a replacement for cuddling with Mommy and Daddy, but Mommy and Daddy need space.

Enter the sticker chart.

A friend of mine told me about doing a sticker chart with her daughter for something (for the life of me I can't remember what).  But the idea is brilliant (and as a teacher I'm very familiar with the concept).  For Princess's sticker chart, we are using a calendar.  Each night she stays all night in her big girl bed (excluding getting up to use the restroom), she can put a sticker on the calendar the next morning.  In a week, she has the chance to earn seven stickers (duh).  To make the idea more attainable, she only has to earn five stickers within a given week to earn a prize.

We worked out that the prize is a "sleepover" date with Daddy.  They hang out, eat popcorn and/or ice cream and/or Oreos with milk, and watch a Disney movie of her choice together before she goes to sleep.

Princess is loving the sticker chart.  She is so excited to earn her stickers and constantly talks about the movie she is going to watch with her daddy.  We've been doing it for over a month now and she's been able to watch quite a few princess movies.

I can't say that it's been perfect (some weeks she just decides she doesn't want her sleepover and crawls into bed with us practically every night), but the sticker chart has definitely been motivating to her.  I've been able to get better quality sleep (this is huge for me), and she has something to work towards.  I'm not sure how long we will continue it, but I don't see an end in sight in the foreseeable future.

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