To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies.
Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc.
The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the pockets of his backpack -- worksheets that, once we sat down to tackle en masse, STILL only took him minutes to complete correctly. But he was so worried and self-conscious about mayyyyybe not being able to read the math word problems by himself, or having to write a sentence with spelling mistakes, that he went with that good ol' time-tested anxiety move of straight-up avoidance. (That's my boy, says the girl who's been putting off a call to Verizon customer service for the last eight months.)
Anyway. Plushies. Not even a word, according to my computer's spellcheck, and yet one I've typed so many times already this post is basically a sea of angry red squiggles.
When Ike succeeds and wins his prize, an old-school Charlie Brown dance party breaks out in celebration. These two make a great team.
(Oh, and no, we didn't massively downsize our Christmas tree this year, that's just a smol bonus tree we got for the front window. Our real tree is in the family room, and humongous, and Tormund tries to climb it, and oh my God, getting it was a Whole Big Thing that is a blog post for another day.)