Age 3-8

The Power of Incentives: How to Train Your Young Child’s Brain for Optimum Performance on Tests (Ages 3-8)

When my kid was three, I taught her how to read with Hooked on Phonics. From then on, I made her do pages of workbooks such as the NY state curriculum and Kumon math and English, all of which I ordered from Amazon. How do you make a kid do what you want? I did it with incentives. You want a new toy? Do a few pages of Kumon. Note that I was too cheap to actually pay thousands of dollars to the Kumon testing centers for them to watch my kid do workbooks when each Kumon book was only $10 on Amazon. I had to save money for the incentives!

You want to go to Hershey Park? Do some sudoku puzzles. A young child will do as he or she is told, especially when you offer treats. Then, before you know it, the kid will have grown into a bigger kid whose brain has been trained. This is akin to the dad teaching his kid how to hit a ball in the schoolyard. We all teach our kids what we know, and I know how to take tests. The test writers tend to test logic, and math and Sudoku train the brain to get used to thinking a certain way. You don’t need tutors when your child is three to eight years old. You need to build a foundation of basic skills and this is best done with active activities like workbooks with answers at the end. Save your money for when you prepare for standardized tests like the Hunter High School Entrance Exam, SHSAT and SATs.

Today, as a reward for getting into an Ivy League college, we are going to go shopping for a Canada Goose coat for those cold Ithaca winters, eat oysters at Docks for Restaurant Week and then go see Dear Evan Hansen (cheaper during Broadway Week). Yes, Broadway is back and we are showing our support with our standing ovation! Yes this is a pricey day, but incentives are very important. Also, see my other posts for my penny-pinching days.

By Candace Sterling

Ivy League Mom who worked damn hard for 17+ years to get her kid into the best schools. Start young and be prepared!

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