My kids are getting older and sometimes it becomes a battle to get them to complete schoolwork and chores.
I see this discussion a lot among parents, especially homeschool families. Often, I think the parents expect too much or go about things the wrong way, but they don’t really want to hear that.
Does it really matter? Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, it seems there are ridiculous hoops we have to jump through to move on to something more important.
The older my kids get, the harder it seems to be simply to request a task get done and see them smile and answer, “Yes, Mom!”
Sometimes, negotiation takes place. The teen wants to do it later, always later. She often barters for the iPod or a Netflix show if she does this or that. It’s like when I give myself a chocolate for doing something I didn’t love doing.
She’s learning “work first, then play” is the best way. It’s an important lesson. I encourage her with budgeting her time. Often, as we get older, we have to do things we don’t want to do and that’s really hard.
Overall, I expect respect from my kids. I expect them to respect me and each other.
How I Motivate My Kids:
I keep a prayer journal.
The kids and I have prayer time and Bible reading every morning and evening.
I have learned that stopping to pray over frustration diffuses the situation and helps us all to reset.
If a child is having an especially difficult time with attitude, a math problem, or anything – praying aloud, together, helps give her strength and confidence.
Offer the Best Beginning
It’s important to feed my kids’ growing bodies and provide good fats and vitamins and minerals to keep their brains healthy.
I am not a morning person, but I force myself to get up and make a good breakfast for my kids. It’s best for us all and makes a big difference.
Also, we still do “circle time” together, praying, Bible reading, and planning our day.
Many hands make light work. It’s so much easier to clean a bedroom or do dishes with help. I often assist my kids in chores because I like being with them and it makes the chores go faster. Modeling how to complete chores well helps for next time.
There are times when a child must clean up alone, but he’s often more willing since I helped last time. I remind him of that and verbally tell him how to break it into chunks so it’s not overwhelming. I provide pretty baskets and shelves to make everything easier and neater.
Model Servant Leadership
As a mom, I am naturally a servant in my home. I do laundry and dishes every day. I pick up after everyone. I clean and tidy and organize.
My attitude models leadership to my kids.
I try not to grumble and complain when I get overwhelmed. I want to encourage a helpful attitude.
I want cheerful hearts, serving others joyfully. We often read missionary stories and historical fiction with characters who were great servant leaders.
We typically have too many helpers. The kids love to be with Mom and Dad in the kitchen or laundry room or yard, helping and learning.
But sometimes, the helpers don’t want to help.
Sometimes an attitude adjustment is needed.
One kid complains about another:
“It’s not my mess!”
“Why doesn’t she have to unload the dishwasher too?”
Life isn’t fair.
We try to make sure chores are distributed as equally as possible. The dynamics of a family of six means there is sometimes disagreement.
I just want cooperation.
When someone complains about another, and involves me, she should serve the others. Usually, I let them work it out on their own. Their sense of fairness is often different than mine. It kills me to listen in and sometimes there are tears or angry voices and I want to step in, but by doing so, I rob them of the lesson in problem-solving and people skills.
I want grateful attitudes. Dishes aren’t my favorite. I don’t like to fold laundry. But we all need to pitch in and learn how to do these chores well. Someday, they’ll have their own households to run and I want them to have the skills to do it well.
Set Realistic Goals
We have pared down our homeschool work to only what is necessary and interesting. We’re quite the unschoolers these days.
Often, my kids get overwhelmed with a busy schedule or too much schoolwork and I must reevaluate.
I conference with my teen each week to help her stay focused. My job is as a coach now, guiding her to make the best decisions for high school. She works as a Red Cross volunteer two full days each week. Her academic load is heavy and hard.
I have to help my other kids decide which activities they want to focus on. Our budget and schedule won’t allow us to do it all!
Less is more. We teach mastery. Quality over quantity.
What I Don’t Do:
Use Harsh Language
I’m working on this. I get frustrated. I am controlling. I look for healthy ways to communicate, even when I’m upset.
We’re all pretty loud and often talk over each other, but we’re all learning to be more respectful with our voices.
I can tear down or I can build up. I would rather have a good relationship with my kids. I want them to have good memories.
Raising my voice only makes the situation worse. I’ve found that even with a teenager, like with a preschooler, there are often other factors (like hunger and being tired) that cause attitude problems. When I address those issues, it’s smoother sailing.
Ask for Too Much
I have to realize how far to push my kids.
Too little and they get bored. Too much and they get overwhelmed.
It’s a constant struggle for balance to challenge them, but not overdo it.
As my kids grow and mature, I have to check that I don’t ask too much or too little. When attitude problems arise, I ask myself why. They’re often unable to express to me that they’re overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed kids often shut down because they don’t know how to handle it.
Bored kids resent being unchallenged and act out.
We take a break and evaluate the situation. By homeschooling year-round, we have that luxury. Relationships before academics.
I don’t like sticker charts. I don’t like dangling carrots. I don’t like incentives.
As an adult, I don’t have incentives other than personal satisfaction. I don’t get stickers for cleaning the toilets.
I have four kids and I just don’t feel the need for charts and schedules cluttering up my wall. I want to develop an attitude of caring and charts just don’t convey that image. We’ve tried them and I found them to be a waste of everyone’s time.
We don’t do rewards, punishments, bribes. They’re worthless and unnecessary.
I want my kids to feel good about a job well done. I refuse to buy into the self-esteem, everybody-gets-a-trophy attitude of our modern culture. I want my kids to develop a good work ethic. Sometimes that means repeating a task until it’s done correctly. I won’t tolerate laziness. I also don’t want to push too hard or discourage. I will often step back and make sure I modeled well what I want accomplished. I will help my children complete the task, teaching by example, so he or she can independently do it next time to a better standard. I want to say “Good job!” and have it actually mean something. Jesus won’t be saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant” to everyone.
How do you get your kids to complete the hard tasks?
Linking up: The Jenny Evolution, 124Homeschool4Me, Wife Mom Geek, All Kinds of Things, Mommy Crusader, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Living Montessori Now, ABC Creative Learning, Kiddy Charts, The Educators Spin on It, Life of Faith, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, A Proverbs 31 Wife, A Mamas Story, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, F Dean Hackett, True Aim Education, The Natural Homeschool, The Stay at Home Survival Guide, Wonder Mom Wannabe, Hip Homeschool Moms, Life with Lorelai, A Little R&R, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Raising Homemakers, Pat and Candy, The Deliberate Mom, Frog’s Lilypad, Imparting Grace, I Choose Joy, A Kreative Whim, Crafty Moms Share