"Put your coat on"
"Go into the car, we are running late!"
"Hurry finish your cereal you will miss the bus!"
"How many times do I have to ask for this playroom to be cleaned?"
"Your clothes are all over the floor, please pick them up."
Does this sounds familiar? It means you are a parent! The greatest gift in the world and yet the most daunting task of all.
How do we get our children to listen to us, to follow through without badgering and nagging and worst of all, bribing them to listen. We are all guilty of bribes and there is a time and place for everything. However, as parents we are the adults and we need to set the example in the household. Children should NOT be given bribes and treats for doing what they should. Like getting dressed, eating breakfast and packing up their own briefcase for school.
"BUT my kids never listen unless I bribe them!"
"You mean I should never give rewards?"
Yes you should offer praise and rewards for good behavior. It is all how we present it.
Think about each of your precious children. Our children are full of incredible happiness, bliss, and boundless talent and gifts! In addition, each of children have their own human imperfections and struggles like us all.
My 3 year old daughter struggles with whining and complaining a lot. The sheer volume of the whine and screech is worse than ling nails on the blackboard. Each time she whines I found myself caving into to what she wanted. Or worse of I would bribe her to stop whining.
Imagine, a 28 year old grown up asking a 3 year old to please stop doing something and even more so here is a special present if you stop!!! Well this had to end and I was determined to think of way to stop it.
One thing I worked out with her is that she can earn coins for every 10 minutes in the morning that passes that she doesn't whine. We started with every 3 minutes as the whining was really bad and going for 3 minutes was hard enough for her. We slowly moved to 10 minutes. Some mornings she earns enough coins to equal a dollar and she can choose from specific dollar options that I set out for her. This system puts her in charge of her whining and makes me a happy mommy that doesn't need to hear complaining all morning. It also sets the tone for a great morning. We are both smiling and happy when I send her off to school on the bus (well most morning :)
My 5 year old son loves charts and routines. However, even with all my great systems and charts he can still get distracted and he might need reminders to finish getting ready. I needed him to learn executive functioning skills. He is 5 and he is very capable of getting ready without distractions. The question, how? I created a system that when he gets ready without any reminders he can get a coin. If he gets a coin every day of that week he can earn a dollar of his choice.
Notice the difference in the earning system for the different ages. Older children can wait longer and should be taught to wait longer. Younger children need more instant gratification. Especially if you are dealing with something like whining and complaining that needs immediate attention.
You can use the special time dollars for anything that your family feels is important. Remember. Every home is a special and unique and has it's own set of rules. Know your kids and more importantly know YOURSELF. If you feel that cleaning up deserves a special time dollar than do so. Main thing, whatever you decide, stick it with and follow through.