We took our first family trip to Disney World this time last year. I have two little boys who were three-and-a-half and 15 months at the time. Were we crazy? No way! It was harder than if we’d had elementary aged children (we had to carry in diapers and a huge double stroller), but we had the best time and I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything!
I’m not sure if you’ve been around a three-and-a-half year old lately, but (for mine anyway) it is a time of expressing independence and authority while not really having a CLUE about anything. There is lots of sass and pushing the line just to see how far it can be pushed. We only told my little boy we were going to Disney about three days in advance, but I quickly came up with a rewards system that worked for us in those days leading up to traveling and for the five hours in the car. I also kept the rewards system going while we were there.
So what did I do? Mouse Money! I made paper money with Mickey’s face on them and told him when he was helpful or doing things without being asked (or without me having to fuss and ask 100 times!) he would earn Mouse Money. It worked like a charm! Anytime there was whining, I just reminded him about the Mouse Money. He earned several dollars in the days leading up to our trip, on the way to Orlando, and even while we were there. At the end of our trip we went shopping at World of Disney in Downtown Disney and he was so proud to exchange his Mouse Money for real money and purchase his very own souvenir! It also worked GREAT when we walked through gift shops they strategically place at the ends of the rides when he got “The Gimmes.” I just reminded him that at the end of the week he’d have MORE Mouse Money but that we could look and start thinking about what he might want to pick out.
May I have one of each, Mom?
Tell me I’m not alone. Do you use rewards like this after you announce your trip or for souvenirs in the park? How does it work for your family?
Lauren is a wife to a fantastic husband and a mom to two very busy little boys – ages two and four. When she’s not chasing after her boys, she enjoys reading, cooking, and trying to convince her husband they need to plan their next vacation. Lauren blogs all about their adventures over at A Page Is Turned.