I finally gave up on self-discipline. Almost a year later I still hadn't found a way to consistently do therapy with Ava during the day. I'm a speech therapist. My daughter needs speech therapy. This shouldn't be a difficult equation!
So, I enlisted my husband's help. The newest plan involves dinner. It is our most consistent group meal. We sit down as a complete family at home at least 5-7 days a week. After dinner, Michael helps his father clear the table and load the dishwasher while Ava and I do speech.
It's been a little over a week and this seems to be working. It's the routine. Everyone knows and expects this particular plan, so I don't have to remember all by myself.
Now getting Ava to cooperate so that we actually get speech practice instead of pouting in is an entirely different matter. I tried being firm. Boy can she be stubborn. She's perfectly happy to sit in time out, or forgo some fun activity later in order to avoid speech now.
I admit it. I have resorted to simple bribery. My children rarely get candy. We just don't keep it around and so they don't expect it. If I pull out a single pink starburst candy, show it to her, and tell her she can have it if she does a good job at speech, I get a beautiful session. I leave it right there in the middle of the table in full view. When she starts to slip and get pouty because I ask for three repetitions of something difficult (stupid /k/) then I don't even have to say anything. I just reach my finger over and slide that piece of candy a little farther away from her. Our eyes meet and I raise my eyebrows a little and she's back with the program.
I feel a little like I -should- feel guilty about this, but I don't. One piece of candy a day is certainly not going to kill her and the consistency of cooperative speech sessions is priceless.
There you go. I wouldn't exactly recommend it for professional practice, but it's working here in my own home.