We recently had an intern move in with us. She works at my kid’s school, and is from Switzerland, and we are hosting her for a part of the school year. While we are really enjoying having her stay with us, I have definitely noticed more how much my kids misbehave.
In fact, it is like they are being particularly difficult since she has gotten here. That or I am just more conscious of it. Either way I have noticed I have had to ask A LOT to get them to do anything, and I have had to yell A LOT to get them to stop fighting or whatever.
I feel like I have been on repeat. Like a favorite song, or popular phrase. All day long it is: “Stop fighting” “Pick up your mess” and “Please do your homework”! And I am getting sick of my own voice.
So in my desperation I started reading and watching lots of little parenting articles and tips. And let me tell you, most of the stuff is great, but may not exactly apply to my kids. Or is just too radical a change to implement successfully.
There are a million different pieces of advice out there from things like, “Instead of saying what not to do (Stop fighting), say what they should do (Get along),” to things like giving verbal warnings, time outs, reward systems, and the like.
However here is what I found that I related to and resonated with.
If you want to get your kids to whine less and help more you need to use a three step approach:
Step one: Make Your Request
One thing about making the request is setting an expectation for the child. For example, “I would like you to clean out the dishwasher, you may play after you have finished.” When you give responsibility with a reward (not a big reward) it is easier to do without whining.
Step Two: Provide a Warning with Consequence
This is where you remind the child of what you asked, and let them know there is a consequence if they do not follow through: “I need you to clean out the dishwasher, I already asked once, if you do not do so I will have to ground you from television for x amount of days.”
Step Three: Follow Through with Either Consequence of Praise
This is so important. When the dishwasher is done you need to acknowledge it. That doesn’t mean elaborate or profuse praise, but a simple, “Thank you for doing what I asked.” Goes a long way to reinforcing good behavior. If they chose not to do it, this is when you have to follow through with the consequence you set up.
I love this idea because it simplifies things. I know that asking my kids a million times gets annoying, and each time I ask I lose some of my parenting power. Why? Because I let them get away with not doing as I ask.
Of course follow through and consistencies are two of the main pillars of parenting. I am going to make a real effort to implement this 3 step approach, and I will let you guys know how it goes.
What do you guys do? I know that Being A Parent is Hard Work, you can find my thoughts on that here. But I wanted to take a minute to say Good Job! You are Awesome!