I’ve recently been pondering how I can help my oldest daughter have the desire to do the things that she has to learn to do. From her perspective, I get it. I mean, there is always something that she “has to do.” Be it, learning to make her bed, brush her teeth, tie her shoes, use a fork, and so on and these don’t even take into consideration the load she carries at school. So, needless to say, I can imagine she gets really tired and frustrated when we say, “You have to learn these things,” or “You have to do this.” I mean, I would!
A little over a week ago, while out for a run, I had taken a day to really slow down. I had been working on my speed, trying to do more and push harder because I just felt like I “needed to.” It hit me on that particular run that I enjoy running when I slow down. I enjoy it a lot. But, I don’t enjoy hearing the voice inside my head that tells me I have to push harder, do more, be faster. Shut up! After all, that voice pretty much shuts me down immediately, and you can bet you’ll get nothing from me.
So, I get it. I get her. I get the frustration. This always turns me to ask another question, “How can I help her?”
As I thought about this, I pondered my own self and asked, “Why do I run.” The truth is I don’t love running. I don’t love exercising. But, I do it because I want to be the best that I can be and it’s part of my life plan – the plan I created to say that I would do this as a way to keep not only my body healthy, but my mind healthy as well. It’s another form of therapy for me. But, if I’m honest, I don’t always want to go for a run. I usually need a little more motivation. Motivation like, it’s February and I’m gonna have to be able to fit into a swim suit here soon. Or the motivation of a the half marathon approaching, the beach trip on the horizon or my upcoming 15th wedding anniversary. Needless to say I need reason to want to run and exercise and get fit. Knowing that I need it to get through this life isn’t always enough motivation. Seeing this in myself, made me realize this is what I need to do for her. I need to come up with a solution that turns all the “have-to’s” into “want-to’s.”
And so, I’m on a mission.
My mission has me starting with the tried and true (for some) monetary system. Not sure this will work for them, but it’s where I’m starting.
So this past weekend, I asked my girls to do a few chores that I was pretty certain they could do. Yes, I had to do a bit of instructing here and there, but for the most part they were able to do that which was requested of them. My oldest was given a mere 2 jobs (and she complained the whole time.) See my struggle? 🙂 My youngest – bless that child – was asked to unload the dishwasher and clean the downstairs bathroom (which included the toilet, sink, mirror, sweeping of the floor and emptying of the trash can). She did all of these without any complaining.
Once finished, it was time to pay out. They received money for both their work and their attitudes toward doing the job requested. Wanting them to both be present while the other was paid out, I had them come to me – together – and I verbally paid out based on what chores they did. This was done to show them both that more work means more pay and that a good attitude is rewarded as well.
I started with my oldest and gave her 2 quarters, explaining they were for the two rugs she had swept (sorry folks, I didn’t have it in me that day to have her do anymore). The other I gave a quarter to for unloading the dishes, washing the sink/mirror in the bathroom, sweeping the floor, scrubbing the toilet, and emptying the trashcan. And then, she received a bonus…one extra quarter for her good attitude toward doing the work requested. Needless to say, she walked away exclaiming, “Wow, I got $1.50,” (so glad that she was happy with the pay :). The other one, irritated that she received less, scuffed away saying, “Whatever,” as though it didn’t bother her that little sis had made more. But, this mom knows it did bother her and that is why she reacted the way she did. I explained to her that she, too, can earn extra quarters by her willingness to do more without complaining and by working hard at what she jobs she is given. I’m sure once the American Girl store opens this spring, her want to earn more money change quickly.
I guess time will tell.
What about in your family? Do your kids do chores? How do you encourage them to complete the tasks requested of them? Do they complete them or is it a battle? Curious to hear what others do to encourage their kiddos to help out around the house.
Til next time,