How to Trick Your Kids, and Maybe Readers of Your Blog

This week’s column from Dan Ariely may offer the key to how to get more people to read your blog.

Here’s the question he received:

The only way I can get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables is to reward them for it, usually with screen time. My sister allows my nieces to eat as much fruit as they want, whenever they want. In fact, her family refers to fruit as “nature’s candy” (but trust me, her kids know the difference between a grape and a lollipop). So far, neither of these methods is working for my family particularly well, but does one sound more promising to you? —Louisa

And here was Dan’s response:

Many parents use rewards to get children to do things they would otherwise resist, such as eating healthy foods. This approach might work in the short term, but over time it may cause children to resist fruits and vegetables even more, because they will view eating those foods only as means to a reward.

When it comes to framing fruit as candy, your sister is onto something. I might not go quite that far, but a related approach could be to limit fruit consumption in the same general way as candy consumption. A series of studies found that when children were told that they could have only a limited amount of a certain food, such as carrots, the kids not only preferred carrots to a more bountiful snack option but ate more carrots and enjoyed them more than kids who chose carrots over a snack in equal supply.

Studies with young children are tricky, so there could be many reasons behind these behaviors, but it seems that the fear of missing out is one important driver that gets us all to partake of items that are in short supply.

The part in bold offers a technique that may help get your kids to eat their fruits and veggie, but it seems like it may also offer advice for bloggers.

Looking for more followers or more comments? Maybe you don’t have to offer them a reward after all.

Maybe all you have to do is somehow create a fear of missing out.

Tell your readers that the current post can only be viewed by a certain number of non-followers, and once that number is hit, only followers of the blog will be able to read it. The readers will not want to feel like they might miss out on something, so they will happily become a follower. Of course, no need to let anyone know that there is no such limit on the number of non-followers who can read your post.

And if you’re looking for more comments, let the readers know that you have created a filter that only accepts high-quality comments; all others will be rejected. Since everyone thinks that everything they write is of high quality, they will want to test the filter, and lo and behold, their comment gets published. This will make them feel all warm and fuzzy and confirm their high opinion of themselves. And they will be forever grateful to your blog for confirmation of their greatness and will become loyal followers and commenters.

I realize that this way of gaining followers and comments may seem a little deceptive, but so is the way Dan suggests for getting kids to eat carrots. And besides, no harm no foul.

So if you want to guarantee your ability to read more of my blather, just become a follower.

And if you want to measure your ability to leave brilliant comments, just write one. And if it gets posted, congratulations on your brilliance…

64 thoughts on “How to Trick Your Kids, and Maybe Readers of Your Blog

  1. OH gosh! Hmmm… so if this comment is posted that mean I am brilliant? Cool!
    I have no problems eating fruit, veggies I may be a tad more picky about. Though now broccoli with a cheese sauce on it is good, a lot of cheese.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One of the traps that parents run into is rewarding their kids too much. It seems so obvious to me, yet I see parents doing this all the time. Life doesn’t work that way, and we don’t get rewarded every time we do something. I’ve seen parents create these little monsters who develop an attitude of “what’s in it for me?” I’m not an anti-reward guy, but they lose their effectiveness if you use them all the time. I also think parents can reinforce the idea of intrinsic rewards by saying things like, “How did you feel when that woman smiled at you when you held the door open for her?”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I work on a form of this theory. I tell my readers that one day each year I am going to post an exceptionally brilliant and moving poem, but I am not sure what day that will be. So, my readers must stop by each day to check or miss out on the one good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mine is all over the place with no reward expected at all, except that you might laugh. or not. ) i am actually rewarded by reading great comments from my readers, so i guess the trick is on me, keeping that carrot dangling on a stick in front of me, and you are a part of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read this, and am posting my brilliant comment. Now, where’s my 🥕?

    By the way, have your new found crossword skills helped you to work out that Dan Ariely is an anagram of Earn Daily? I’m not so sure he’s real, just a creation to make money…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I apprecaite your brilliant comment. I’ll ship the carrot to yu now. but there may be a shipping delay because of supply chain issues.

      I love that anagram – I wonder if he is aware of it! (or if he really exists)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On second thoughts, hang onto it and donate it to a local ass – it may not be edible by the time it gets here.

        I think he’s fictional…


  6. Fun post. However, I am compelled to note the only lasting rewards are intrinsic. Another way of saying the only way to get readers (not just followers) is to provide quality content.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nothing like this worked for me when my daughter was little. She ate so little. It got to a point that the pediatrician said let her eat anything she wanted to eat. My daughter and her hubby now don’t use any reward system. Their kids used to eat lots of veggies when they were babies, but they soon found other favorites, especially pasta. But each meal, they must eat some veggies, even a couple bites each. My daughter and her hubby have lots of patience to wait until they eat them.
    Some kids (people) are motivated by rewards, and not all, as some comments indicated. Great post, Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reverse psychology works a treat just tell the little darlings that all veggies are for grownups and that they wouldn’t like them anyway and don’t give in easy… make them beg for a worked every time …:) x


  9. Haha the eternal parentung problem how to get your kids to do what you want (mostly, eat Veggies)! This, I surprisingly have sidestepped! Charlotte loves Veggies! Once she was eating a green bean and screamed at no one in particular “I LOVE Veggies!!!” 😂😍💕

    Hope this makes the comments section!! 🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad your blog has confirmed my brilliance and splendour. Fantastic validation.
    Joking aside, I feel this approach really is a very common tactic in marketing and advertising campaigns. Also reminds me of those IOS app ads where it’s like “Only 99999 IQ people can solve these puzzles”

    Liked by 1 person

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