26/06/2009 05:32 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Why I Love... Stickers

When I'm answering parenting questions for my Ask Joanne column, I have to ration the number of times I refer to one guaranteed motivational method: stickers.

Was there ever a situation with a young child that you couldn't solve with the aid of stickers? I think they should give them out free on the NHS.

Potty training a problem? Put a sticker on the pot for every successful deposit. Behaviour not at its best? Start a sticker chart to reward good behaviour.
Feeling a little dull? Stick stickers all over your body, you'll feel better in no time.

What is it with stickers? Why do children go so mad for them, at virtually any age?

Recently I bought these stickers from Baker Ross, which I keep in my desk and dish out to the kids at random intervals.

Many parents like stickers because they're a non-food reward, so you aren't setting your child up with dodgy food associations that a treat can only be something sweet to eat. If only we adults were so easily appeased, we could wipe out comfort eating in a shot.

Even the mighty parenting goddess Dr Tanya Byron used stickers when taming toddlers on the BBC series The House of Tiny Tearaways. She would make a point of getting down on the child's level and letting them pick out the sticker they liked the most. Even though her stickers looked to be fairly minute (blame BBC budgets), the children treasured them like precious jewels.

I think this is one of the reasons I'm not planning on having any more children – they might not like stickers and then I would have no idea what to do.