Mama Bear

I bribe my kids.

There. I said it.

I have never subscribed to the bribery school of thought that many parents do to shut their kids up, because I know in the long run it will come back and bite me in the ass (when they turn 16, steal my car and become strippers.)

I always thought good parenting had nothing to do with bribery.

All I can say is, WHATEVER.

Since the girls were 3 months old we have had them on a sleep schedule.

And it was amazing.

People would stare at us in amazement, asking us questions as to how we got our infants/ toddlers to sleep from 7pm to 7am.

I felt like some sort of parenting guru.

We would answer one word: consistency.

And it is so true.

Our girls would sleep through the night in their own beds. Even when they were old enough to start climbing out, they would never come to our beds. They would walk into our room, and we would escort them back to their cribs.. and that was that.

Not anymore.

Once we moved to Israel, our girls started sneaking into our bed at night.

I read about this, and it’s totally normal.  sleep patterns and routines often change if there is a new baby in the house, or a move.

Well then, there we go.

So at first, we would let them sleep in bed with us.

I should mention that they would fall asleep in their beds, and then at 3am when our defenses were down and I was dreaming of butterflies and butterscotch, they would sneak in, one by one like thieves in the night.

And we were too tired to care.

Now we have a problem.

N’s leg ends up in my face, S’s tush in my eye (yeah, I dont know how either)..

and of course N has the nerve to scream at me for stealing “her” pillow which is actually mine.

This is what I get for feeling so cocky about my parenting skills in the past.

So I started googling methods on how to break the cycle.

Luckily I came across an article that pretty much said- not in so many words mind you- That I should bribe them.

The author said that we should explain to them that if they sleep in their beds- and STAY there all night, they would be rewarded in the morning. The author then went on to say that eventually you wont need to bribe them, and that it would become habit.

So, I though about it.

What would I give them?


Toys are too expensive, and who can get their hands on 2 toys every day?

Then it hit me- GUMMY BEARS.

Or any form of Gummy candy for that matter.


They COVET anything gummy (like their mama- my downfall).

You know how everyone has a snack, an indulgence that they love?

I’m not a chocolate person (except when aunt flo visits) or a chips kind of gal. But give me a bag of gummies and I will give you a hug. Or a lap dance.

So I bought a 10 lb bag (you know, mostly for them ….ahem).

The first night I told the girls of my plan and they agreed.

Night 1:

Started off fine.. until S snuggled into bed next to her father. I opened my sleep filled eyes just enough to remind her that she would not be getting a surprise in the morning if she remained in our bed.

She didn’t care.

Well, let me rephrase: she didn’t care until morning time, when I handed her sister a gummy worm for sleeping in her bed through the night. S was sad, but immediately said ” tomorrow I am going to sleep in my bed all night“.. and you know what, she did.

 And you know what?

They both have for a whole week!

So yeah, bribery works.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually feed my kids too much junk.

I know gummy candies have zero nutritional value.. but, after all they only get 1 a day so I think that’s ok.. you know, until I get a dental bill the size of texas.

I got this parenting thing in the bag- the gummy bear bag that is.

Have you bribed your kids to do something or change a behavior? If so, spill it!


23 thoughts on “Mama Bear

  1. edenland

    Pffft. Oh yeah. Once I gave Tim ten bucks for changing Maxs nappy. I think Tim was 9 yrs old.

    Chocolate, trips to the park, the shops …… food, favourite dinners. I have no bribing limits.

    Rocco has come into our bed every night since he could walk. Nothing works…. contemplating locking his door from the outside.


  2. sherene

    Don’t feel so guilty dear, we all do that haha. From toys, to candy, to coloring book, but who cares, as long as I can have peace of mind even just for a couple of hours. :))

  3. mel

    Absolutely. Rory, who is now 27mos still has her binky. I’m not used to this because my first didn’t use one at all. People say they are bad, but I use it as bribery. She ONLY gets it at bedtime and that’s the only way we get her to bed. I’m just afraid she’s going to be sleeping with it when she’s 12.

  4. cindy w

    Oh heck yeah, I do this. Catie has a habit of leaving her toys all over the living room, but then when I tell her it’s time to clean up, she looks around & gets overwhelmed & cries because she doesn’t know where to start. So we made it a game: the Clean-Up Race. I set the timer on the microwave for 5 minutes, and we both run around and clean up as much as we can. Whoever gets the most done in 5 minutes (hint: it’s always her), gets a prize, which is usually some sort of candy. (Gummy bears are ok, but she prefers the tiny fun-size boxes of Nerds.) And bonus, the room is usually spotless after the 5 minutes are up. So Mommy is happy too. I call it a win-win.

  5. KJ and the Kids

    I have, do and will. I have also had it bite me in the ass. “I will do it IF you give me (fill in the blank)” and then I re think my whole parenting plan and wonder how the hell I’m going to get them to do ANYTHING at all without promising them candy or trips to disneyland 🙂

    Love your post 🙂

  6. amy d

    Totally want gummies now! I am so going to borrow this trick. We have a new baby arriving in August that will most probably shake up my son’s life a bit. Glad I have some tricks up my sleeve in case we have to deal with this;)

    Also…” they would sneak in, one by one like thieves in the night.”….SO FUNNY!!!

  7. Lori in Iowa

    I don’t really consider what you did bribery. You gave them a reward for something they did. Bribery to me is giving them something to stop the behavior WHILE they are doing the behavior. Like if you gave your daughter a gummy bear in the middle of the night to go back to bed. Or a parent giving a screaming kid a gummy bear to stop screaming.

    Or at least that is how I like to think of it. Because 50% of my parenting skills may or may not rely on rewards. Don’t tell anyone.

    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Holy mother of gummy bears!!! i love that you find this sort of stuff! well, i will be in ny next week… hmm..

  8. Lisa

    AHHH bribery. I use it ALL the time. “Gummy snacks” as we call them, in any form: princess ones, curious george, veggie tales, real ones, etc. They can get us out of the house relatively on time in the morning “if you get of bed, go potty and get dressed without a melt down, you can have gummy snacks in the car.” Breakfast of champions. I might perhaps feed her real food with nutritional value before we leave the house. But any candy, works wonders. 🙂 Have fun in NY.

  9. Angie M.

    i’m not a chocolate person either. i’ll take gummi life savers over chocolate ANY day..i mean hello?? watermelon flavored gummi savors…yes, please!!

    i’ve never done the whole bribery thing, but if i had to. i sure as hell would..that’s for sure!

  10. eva

    Don’t worry it’s not bribery its called reinforcement 🙂 I am a behaviour therapist and reinforcement is a powerful tool!! Good sticking to your guns mama

    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Thank you Eva- now I feel better!!! I mean, I’m sure they’ll end up in therapy one day for different reasons- but I wont be one of them! 😉

  11. es

    I also did not believe in bribery… until they started needing to wear eye patches for two hours each day, which they abolutely hated and would pull off. So I promised them a treat for wearing it (lollipop, taffy, something). A month later, my daughter still reminds me every day for a treat (she would- she has such a sweet tooth and I never usually give them candy). So much for it becoming habit forming and not needing the reward…

  12. Caro

    Yup – gummies to get him to stand on the buggyboard so we can get to the nursery when I’m running late (again). Also considering it for potty training.

  13. Sara

    I have 4 children. All girls. Yes, I bribe them. Yes, it’s OK. Two are now teenagers. They’re fine. In fact, I have escaped the drama of the oldest one. *knock on wood*


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