Perhaps negotiating skills could do with some work, too

Talking to Pearl’s teacher today, I found out that she needs to practise some “basic facts” in arithmetic.  A good place to start (for her) is “groupings to ten” – knowing what combinations of two numbers make ten, instantly.  Pearl can do it, but not instantly – she counts in her head.

So I discussed some strategies with her this afternoon.  I proposed to drill her – I will call out a number under ten and she will reply with the number you need to add to get ten.  So if I say “Two”, she says “Eight”, for example.  She has three seconds to give me an answer, and we’ll do it ten times each day.  Once she’s getting them all right most of the time, we’ll reduce the time limit to two seconds, and eventually she should have it all sorted.

There will be prizes, I told her.  “What?!” she asked excitedly.  I scrambled for a prize.  “Uhh, if you get eight out of ten right, maybe you could have a bikkie for afternoon tea” (instead of something a bit healthier).  “And if you get them all right, I could give you a mini chocolate bar” (HUGE treat).

“What would I get for five?” she wanted to know.  “A kiss on the cheek” was not met with great approval.  We both went off to think for a bit.

“I know!” I told her after about half an hour spent doing other things.  “How about, for every one you get right, you get an extra minute of reading time?”

“Brilliant!” she enthused.  “But what about the bikkie?”

“I think the reading time is enough, but if you get them all right, I’ll still give you the chocolate.”

“Actually, Mummy… [long pause] I was thinking, maybe it should be, if I get them all right for a whole week, then I could have the chocolate?”

So the deal was done.  For the record, tonight she got 8 minutes extra reading time.  And everyone was happy.

3 Responses to “Perhaps negotiating skills could do with some work, too”

  1. Kelley Says:


    Soon it will be ‘I won’t get out of bed for less than 10,000 bikkies’

  2. Noelle Says:

    Don’t you just love negotiating with little kids?!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog tonight! Oh, and what’s a bikkie?

    • upsidebackwards Says:

      Hi Noelle! Bikkie is short for biscuit, in the British sense of the word. Like a cookie.

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