Honestly it is not my usual parenting tool of choice, I prefer to think that encouragement works much better - but I had to pull out the big guns.
First: Alexander. He is playing basketball but frankly is not really a competitive kid. I get it, and while I don't expect him to be Michael Jordon I do want him to know where the ball is and stop dancing and chatting to the other players.We offered him money for his first goal. This we borrowed from another basketball parent and the incentive was actually put in place last year (sot the results didn't really come quickly!) As time has passed the amount actually increased significantly - not that he really understands the value of it. Today he got that first goal! We were thrilled and so was he. After the goal he actually played better than he ever had. Maybe the pressure was off. So is the deal - no more money for subsequent goals.
Onto the twins. They have a couple of obsessions - one is the Dinosaur Train which is a Jim Henson production of which they have the DVD. The other is non-participation at kinder mat time. They will sit defiantly while all kinds of fun things happen around them. Here's a visual - 25 kids and adults dancing Zorba the Greek and my two sitting glumly in the middle. This has been going on some 18 months.
I smelt a rat the other day when they came home and said they had done the hokey pokey and wanted to do it at home. When asked if they had participated they said no, but they had watched. And it really does get through (contrary to some specialists who suggested non-participation was due to speech disorder and not understanding). They knew all the words and actions.
I suggested to them that if they participated at mat time for a whole week, they may get a dinosaur train toy. Friday was the first day and the teachers said not only did they join in but they had fun! Lets hope a week is long enough to break their bad habit.
So it seems that the incentive (or bribe) works for my kids. Would love to hear your experience...