How? How do you get your child to clean their room? Eat their greens? Do their homework? The answer is you become an expert in your child’s motivators. Clean your room or you can’t go to the movies. Eat your greens or you can’t have dessert. Do your homework or you can’t play. Sound familiar?
What if we were to take the word “can’t” out of the parenting model? Suddenly you have given control to the child. I’m not keeping you from the movies, dessert or playtime. You can earn the reward.
Families report difficulty getting their child out of bed and putting on their clothes let alone putting some cereal in a bowl and preparing for the day ahead. Parents pick up the pieces by preparing the meals, rushing behind the lagging child push push…hurry hurry. But wait…we just established that parents can become experts at what motivates their kids. This is a classic case where expectations are not clearly laid out and motivators are not being used as the can be.
Putting expectations and rewards together is the key to this classic dilemma. Provide a list of things you expect from your children on a day to day basis. This isn’t rocket science for your kiddos. This is get out of bed and make it. Addresses organizational skills. Brush your hair and teeth. Addresses personal hygiene and health. Make your breakfast and prepare your lunch for school. Addresses responsibility and health. Show respect to those around you. Addresses basic social skills. Be ready for school on time. Addresses time management. Help someone who is struggling to keep up. Addresses maintaining healthy relationships and compassion. This is just six of the responsibilities to accomplish in the morning.
Looking back at my morning getting the boys ready for school I remember a chaotic environment. Keenan had great difficulty staying on task. Jayden would get ready right away so that he could relax before school…but that never worked out. He just got bored and into trouble. Kiel would get ready but it was like watching a snail in slow motion. I couldn’t say he was off task…but it was painful to watch.
The direction and incentive that Vlinder gave them in the morning was magical. Re-direction for Keenan became easier. All I had to do was remind him that he wasn’t earning his stamp. He became playful in nature as he re-directed himself. Jayden started making breakfast for his brothers and caring for the dog. His main question was how many bonus stamps he could earn. Kiel hated the fact that he wasn’t shining in a game. The competitive one was challenged and he thrived.
I was worried about adding more responsibility in an already chaotic environment. It ended up being exactly what we needed. My stress and workload was easily cut in half. I’ve turned into a support rather then “the boss”. Now I can use my time to network and learn more of these amazing ideas that are out there! Very cool!