So if you’ve been around for a while, you already know that my toddler is not only good at gambling, she’s great at it.

(and, obviously, I am a shameful parent in need of a sound talking to about the evils of letting my daughter have a $1 square in her Daddy’s office football pools.)

So naturally, I had to let her fill out a brackets for Chris’ office March Madness pool as well.

However, this wasn’t as easy as randomly picking a square for her. I had to somehow skillfully coerce my toddler’s participation in making 63 decisions. Yes, if you’ve never counted before, when making a bracket, you have to make SIXTY-THREE choices.

In toddler world, that is over two months worth of deciding between PB&J or Grilled Cheese, which is, in itself, no laughing matter.

So. I started off the most logical way, while using the opportunity of her being in bed after naptime and not wanting to get out yet to trap her into talking to me.

“Ali, would you like Louisville or Morehead State?”

violent shaking of head “uh uh!!”

Okay. . .let’s get a bit simpler.

“Ali, would you like an L or an M?”

“an M!!”

Okay. Now we’re onto something. Although that was probably the worst bracket pick, um, EVER.

We get through maybe 15 choices using the first letter of each team’s name, and then I run into a brick “uh uh!” again.

So I switch tactics. I use their seeds. . .

“Ali, would you like a two or a fifteen?”

“A fifteen!!”

Poor thing. She doesn’t realize how risky of a decision THAT was, either.

This strategy only gets me through a couple more decisions, so I switch back to letters, which works for a while more.

Then she just starts flat-out ignoring me.

So I got more creative.

I went and got a post-it notepad and a pen, and returned to my chair that she always instructs me to sit on while she’s playing in bed.

“Ali, would you like Mommy to write you a U or a V?”

“A U, please!!!” (there was much excitement at this new development.)

So I write a big U on a post-it note and hand it to her. You would have thought I had written her a seven page love note.

This tactic works for quite some time, especially if I switch it up by offering her letters and numbers.I didn’t encourage her to pick one team or the other, with the exception of one of the times when she lost interest, I asked her if she wanted Radford or North Carolina to win, knowing she’d answer (and not ignore me) since she LOVES Baby Radford.

So, her bracket is picked and entered both into her Daddy’s office pool and into Boomama‘s online game (her user name is “Ali-2yrsOldandBracketing” – look for it somewhere near the VERY VERY bottom).

As are mine – after all, the fun of making and keeping up with a bracket is the ONLY thing remotely interesting, entertaining, or positive about Basketball, in my humble opinion.

Her percentile is currently 0.04%. But just in case you wanted a taste of her strategy, this is what I could tell from her choices:

  • If “7” was an option, she always chose it. It is, after all, undeniably her favorite number. In fact, nearly every time we go down the stairs, she has to sit on 7, and say, “bum is on 7!”. THEN she has to sit on 8, and say, “Bum is on 8, 7 is up there, feet are on 9.”
  • If “W” or “T” were choices, they were always picked.
  • And of course, Radford. I’m surprised (in a good way) that Radford wasn’t her chosen winner.

In summary, I think that Ali would be best off if she sticks to gambling on football rather than on basketball. You gotta know what you’re good at and stick to that.

6 thoughts on “Teaching Toddlers Important Skills, Such as Bracket-Making.

  1. Rachel what are you teaching sweet Ali!!! Shame shame.. :) J/k. I’m surprised you got her to make 63 decisions. :)

  2. I’m impressed at how creative you were to have her come up with that many decisions. I really liked the post-it note idea.

  3. You are very creative! I was noticing a little trend. If you said for example, and I’m making this up obviously, “Ali, do you want 6 or 15?”. Her reply would be to pick the second one because it’s the last thing you said. Our children would always pick the second choice for the same reason, unless they were old enough to fully understand the question. Funny! I was impressed, though, when she went for the first choice because it blew my theory at that point.

  4. Haha, she is too cute! I’m very impressed with her decision making abilities. All questions, commands, statements, and otherwise verbally declared phrases in my house are met with a resounding “NO!”

  5. Good for you for sticking with it. I think I might have given up or picked for her before I got through all 63.

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