Monday, January 25, 2010

Three Candy Speed

I just read On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years, by Gary Ezzo.  In keeping with my new commitment not to delve into parenting philosophy, I'll refrain from a detailed review.  I'll just say that I don't agree with the principles in this book, but that there were some techniques in it that seem very helpful and that I will use.  Or, at least, I'll try.

One idea was the author's way of teaching a child to move more quickly using a game called Three Candy Speed.  Since Sammy is a big-time dawdler, I thought I'd try it.  You pick a time when things are not urgent or stressful to play the game.  You put out three small pieces of candy and tell the child that she can have them as soon as she accomplishes some simple task, like putting away her Legos or something.  As the child is working, and when she is finished, you tell her that this is called her "Three Candy Speed."  Afterwards, as she is eating the candy, you explain that there will not be candy involved anymore, but that you just wanted her to feel what Three Candy Speed feels like, and to give it a name.  And you tell her that whenever you say, "use your Three Candy Speed" that she should move just like that.  I like this idea because it concretizes the idea of moving quickly for the child.  I decided to try it the other day while getting Sammy dressed for school. 

I broke a tiny square of chocolate into three pieces and set them on the ottoman and told her that she could eat them as soon as she got dressed, and that the faster she got dressed, the sooner she could have her chocolate.

She responded,


She did get dressed much faster than usual, but that just means that she didn't stop to pet the cat, smell her toes, read a book, pick up a fuzzball and throw it in the trash, tell me a story about the monster in her closet, point out the cool shadow on the wall, and just space out for a while.  She didn't move quickly, but she focused on the task, and it was great.

But it was a one-time thing.  She definitely does not connect the words "Three Candy Speed" with moving quickly.  All she hears is, "candy." 

Oh well, it sounded like a good idea.


  1. One thing that may help is to make it a game using a timer. I found that my boys would do things when they were timed.
    Also, it is the timer saying when they should be done and not you. So sometimes it's not what you want vs what she wants.

  2. We've had much success with timers giving the orders (and a written schedule that I can point to and say, "the schedule says...") but none so far with timers as a game. I haven't tried it in a while, though. It's worth another shot, especially now that she is coming out of this latest angry/limit-testing period and we're having fun again.

  3. We do races. Do you think you can get dressed before I can get my hair and teeth brushed? No way, I am so going to beat you! There is no speed for Livy like competitive speed!