Creative Behavior Motivator

The title of this post could easily be “The Awesome Bribe”, but I decided to make it sound less bribey then it actually is. We’ve used a Creative Behavior Motivator before, back in January when we finally broke Jackson of his blanket chewing/sucking habit. It worked beautifully and in a matter of just 3 weeks he was completely done with it. There was great rejoicing in this house!

Fast-forward to about 8 weeks ago when the sun started setting later and therefore the boys began setting later. Darn you DST! I love the extra light, but I hate that it makes my children think they can stay up until the sun has gone down! I imagine you all can imagine how things started to go south, considering we have three 4.5 year olds sharing a room and all….

On Wednesday, May 2nd, after listening to them party it up in their room for 45 minutes, Nick and I decided we had had more than enough. Nick went back to the boys’ room and told them all to come out to the couch, which was met with a lot of “why’s”, but then pretty much anything we ask them to do or say is met with a “why?”.

When all the rascals were assembled on the couch, I laid it out for them.

Me: Remember how we broke Jackson of his blanket chewing?

Them: Yes. He earned smiley faces on the calendar.

Me: That’s right. And what happened when he earned the right number of smiley faces?

Them: He got a prize!

Me: Right. Well, we’re going to do the same thing with all of you. Starting tonight, for every night that all three of you stay in bed and are calm and don’t come out a hundred times to go to the bathroom or complain about an itch or ask for a bandaid, you will get a smiley face on the calendar.

Them: Waiting anxiously to hear the prize…

Me: Want to know what the prize is?

Them: Yes!!

Me: When you can earn 25* smiley faces, Daddy will start building your bunk beds!

Them: Whining We don’t want to do 25! That will take forever!

I went and pulled the calendar off the wall…

Me: Look. Here’s tonight. If you earn a smiley every night from now on, you’ll be at 25 before the end of this month. We need to you to learn how to go to bed and stay there, because it would be dangerous to mess around on bunk beds.

Them: Oooooh! Before June!

*Why 25? Well, they say it takes 21 days to change a habit. I figure if we can get the boys consistently going to bed easily and staying in bed for 25 days, then there’s hope for us!


Guess what? They’ve earned 14 smiley faces! They’ve only missed one night since we started, and it was because just one of them (Jackson I think?) threw an epic tantrum and wouldn’t stay in bed for some foolish reason (isn’t it always a foolish reason?).

Nick might actually have to start collecting the items needed for their beds! And yes, you read that correctly – he will be building them. We’re big ol’ cheapskates and when I found some simple plans and said plans said it would only run us $50-$100 to build the beds, Nick and I both said “sold!”

For those that are curious, this is the site with the bunk bed plans –

And after he builds the bunk beds and a single bed, I probably will ask him to build me a fancy new table, a headboard for our bed, a coffee table and who knows what else. That site is addictive! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

So there you have it. Our Creative Behavior Motivator is rocking our world and we love it.


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • need more details! which bunk beds? oh, forget it. george would never be able to build bunk beds. 😛 I’m still waiting for him to finish a project from 3 years ago. 😛ReplyCancel

  • pop pop

    I see a table saw in Nicks future ! At least a skill saw.ReplyCancel

  • andrea

    If it makes you feel any better, my husband built our oldest child her loft bed. So, you’re not the only ones to build your own children’s bedroom furniture!ReplyCancel

  • That website is addicting, I have built 3 benches and have no place to put them! Oops! And Kudos on the boys, that is still relatively inexpensive if you can build them at cheap! Go Nick!ReplyCancel

  • Bookmarking for later! How will you decide who gets which bed?ReplyCancel

    • I’m not 100% sure yet, Sarah! We may rotate if there are big problems. Right now though, I suspect Ty will get the top bunk because he’s best at staying in bed and being calm. We’ll see though.ReplyCancel

  • […] Remember my post a couple of weeks ago about our awesome Behavior Motivator?  Well, when I wrote that, the boys had gone to bed easily, and earned their smiley face, for 15 out of 16 nights. Things were clearly going awesome, so even though I knew in the back of my mind that I really shouldn’t blog about it until after they had met the 25 smiley face goal, I did it any way. Silly, silly, Helen. […]ReplyCancel