A behavioral bedtime story for your kids

Nudge blog reader and father Andrew Luccasen reads a bedtime story to his children with a nice behavioral lesson about the wisdom of a commitment device when facing a self-control problem. The story is called “Cookies” from “Adventures of Frog and Toad”  by Arnold Lobel, which was originally published in “Frog and Toad Together” in 1971. “I guess it’s never too early to teach children about cognitive biases and how to attempt to overcome them!” he writes. Here is Luccasen’s account of “Cookies.”

After eating many cookies that Toad baked, Toad and Frog decided they needed to stop. First they agreed to eat one last cookie… then one very last cookie. Having recognized their self-control problem, the friends then seek a commitment device.

Frog puts cookies in a box, but Toad points out that they could just open the box. Frog ties a string around the box, but Toad says they can cut the string. Frog gets a ladder and places the box on a high shelf, but Toad climbs the ladder, cuts the string, and opens the box.

Frog finally takes the box outside of his house, and gives them to the birds in his yard. Frog comments that they “…have lots and lots of willpower.” Toad decides he does not want willpower, and goes home to bake a cake.

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  • Andrew Luccasen

    Frog may want to open an account with stikK.com!

  • Alan Schwartz

    How odd! I just told this very story to my medical decision making class during our discussion of behavioral economics… :)

  • http://www.photographic-elements.com Chris Parker

    Ha!  Gonna read this to my daughter tonight.  I’m sure it will be the last time.

  • Peter W. Collier

    I have a couple of dozen bedtime books-stories, published and unpublished, traffic to read them is low, but growing. I just wanted to get the word out. They are fun and aid in reading development. http://www.readingtochildren.com

  • Florin

    I think I’ve read somewhere that stories where animals act as humans don’t really transfer as knowledge that kids apply in their every day life.

  • nick

    great post! Thanks for share kemeja pria