I teach H about choices. She HAS to do nothing! There are explanations upon explanations about consequences and learning, but there is and NEVER will be force.

I believe that until now, we’ve raised a happy, and incredibly smart child, one who shares, cares and all those other things that we brag about as parents. Please and thank you rolls off her tongue without any effort, she offers her ‘only’ money to the kids who beg at the local superette, she dresses herself, she was fully potty-trained in an hour, and spoke full sentences by the time she turned one.

This sounds like it should have a ‘BUT’, hey? Well….here goes.

Despite being able to do all of the above, and so much more, she chose never to greet loved ones, except her dad and I! She would hug and run up to Ma and Pa; Mamma and Pappa; her uncles; aunts; our neighbours and their kids, who are more like family; but she never verbally greeted anyone – not a hello in English nor an assalaamualeikum in Arabic.

Here’s the mom trick: (This worked wonders with the potty training, so I pulled it out again)

She loves stickers – any kind. She also loves a good game, and money for treats (we also take this opportunity to teach her about budgeting, of course).

I created a chart: Hanaan’s Greeting Sticker Chart (original, I know!) 


For every person she greets, I place a sticker on the chart. Five in a row and you get a R5 in the bag. (this bag, by the way, I just got from Bali YESTERDAY, and I thought I finally had a home for those sanitary towels in my bag).


The bag now holds R10 and we’re well on our way to R15. She also understands that when the chart is fully adorned in faces, the chart and reward system will go, but the lesson and pride will remain – same with the toilet training. 

H in early 2015, placing stickers on her sticker chart
H in early 2015, placing stickers on her toilet sticker chart

Bribing, sneaky, whatever it’s called…it works hehehehe! I now have a child who loves to greet those she knows and loves, and to see her smile proudly after she’s made a choice, makes me happy….(you can be happy and sneaky at the same time!)