I coordinated logistics for a friend of mine’s summer program a few years ago in Concord, MA. One of the members of the faculty described the idea of “small premiums,” tiny rewards or acknowledgements for something. An incentive to keep going, if you will.
I have loved the concept of small premiums ever since. I have a paper bag in my classroom filled with the most random of things: stickers, pencils, toys, mini staplers (which are big hits, for some reason). When students do something good, they can select something from the Small Premium bag. You would think they’ve won the lottery.
Toddlers seem made for small premiums. We are in the midst of potty learning and that means my boy needs some occasional incentives to keep going. (Okay, who are we kidding? I need the incentives more than he does, it seems). As I’ve noted in an earlier post, he is obsessed with Paw Patrol. OBSESSED. We struck a deal: if he can keep listening to his body and going when he needs to, then I’ll give a small premium to encourage him to keep up the good work.
Apparently, he does things that are unlike his other pack members. And also, there are a number of similar type action figures that are just different enough to warrant spending more money (figures). The kicker: a number of parents have told me that their children have been into PP for a loooong time. We are on the early end of this PP thing. I’m attempting to ease my way in.
The upshot: Rubble arrived at the exact moment I needed him to. E had been going consistently on his own, with a few accidents here and there, but he was making good progress.
It was the perfect time for a small premium. We unwrapped the toy with a small amount of fanfare in the kitchen before E whisked Rubble off to join the ever-expanding other PP action figures.
Then, while he was in the other room engrossed in his play, I enjoyed my own small premium: some NPR, some reading of a few pages from a novel that I cannot focus on enough to get any momentum (Swing Time by Zadie Smith), and some moments to breathe.
One year ago: #sol16: The Scarce and Precious
This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, who have created a space for writers and teachers of writers to come together. To learn more about this challenge, click here.