I wrote about our swimming adventures here. Part of our success in encouraging Brodie was to provide a reward, motivation for good behavour when chastising the behaviour we wanted to discourage didn't work.
At first I was wary of giving Brodie a material reward for his hard work, after all I want him to develop a sense of pride in his success. I want him to want to succeed under his own steam. I want him to want to work hard because it will make him feel good.
But sometimes you need to come at things from a new angle and parenting is no different. We hatched a plan to see if we could move the focus from the negative to positive, from stick to carrot.
Brodie would earn a smiley face on the blackboard wall and small treat (a 99p toy or book or occasionally a sweet treat) and when he had earned enough he would receive a big reward we knew he really, really wanted. We offered him a day trip out but he had his heart set on an Octonauts toy and we decided that choosing his own reward would likely be a stronger motivation.
And it worked. I can't really say any more than that. We wanted to be careful not to encourage the belief that he always needs a material reward for hard work but can't deny it's been a powerful tool in getting past this bump in the road. Not one week has gone by when he hasn't earned his smiley face.
Several weeks down the road and after a frank chat or two he no longer expects a treat for working hard at swimming - in fact he can't remember when he didn't enjoy swimming and needed encouragement to go which in my mind equals success. The rewards were a crutch we needed at the time. I was wary of spoiling him and creating a negative cycle but with clear parameters it worked well for us this time.