As we were pulling out of our driveway Thursday morning on the way to my son’s school, he excitedly tells me “Remember when you said if we have a pajama day at school, I can take my pillow pet?”
Yes, I remembered. He had been trying to talk me into taking his favorite stuffed animal, a Pillow Pet, to school for quite sometime. I promised him if they did have a PJ day he could, since they usually invite the children to bring in plush friends on those days.
“Yes” I replied. “So you’re having a PJ party? That’s fun.”
“Yea, our class won a contest so we got to choose between a pizza party, an ice cream party, or a pajama party.”
“And your class chose PJs?”
“Wow, that’s great”. I was honestly surprised. We so often see food used as rewards in the classroom, after sporting events…everywhere we go, the kids are offered food rewards and treats. I’ve certainly been guilty of using food as bribes myself in the past….”Go pee pee on the potty and I’ll give you a candy”. “Sit still and smile and I’ll give you candy as soon as we’re done with these pictures.” Goodness, as a photographer I even encouraged other moms to bring food bribes to photo shoots. But imagine that. When given a choice, the kids chose the non food option?!
I was so intrigued, because although I wish that wasn’t always the case, I naively assumed that the kids are so expecting of these things, they would naturally choose the ice cream or pizza. Then the engineer in me started analyzing the data. I bet the two food options split the majority voting for food and that’s how the PJs won. I was certain.
“So, how many kids voted for the PJs?”
“I’m not sure, but it was a lot. I think it was like 22.”
“22?!” I knew there were 30 kids in the class, so maybe my split majority theory wasn’t correct. Maybe he didn’t remember correctly, but he usually has an excellent memory of detail.
I had to know more. This was not making sense to me and if it was true, what a great message it shares. So, that afternoon, I visited my son’s class and asked the teacher to see the tally. Before seeing it, I recounted all that my son told me, she just kept nodding her head and smiled as she was surprised as well. She said, “The pajama party won by a landslide. I though for sure they would pick the ice cream”
When I first saw the sheet first hand, I was immediately dissapointed that it said “snack and story” on the PJ party. My son didn’t mention that. Did that contradict what I had hoped to illustrate? But no, this class has snack every day. So snack is nothing out of the ordinary. It doesn’t constitute as an extra reward. Therefore, it would be the PJs and story part that sold the kids on that option.
What a pleasant surprise and message from a first grade class. I think the data speaks for itself. Give them a choice and they may surprise you. Great choice kids!
This post shared at: Motivation Monday at A Life In Balance