How to get your kids to do stuff

Kids! Can’t live with ’em…

…and can’t live without ’em eh?

If you’re a parent you know what I mean. Kids are both the greatest joy and the greatest frustration! As a dad myself, one of the day-to-day frustrations was getting my son to do stuff.

Kids don’t have the same responsibilities as adults and their young minds are so much freer to wander about and focus mainly on having as much fun as possible…

I’ve noticed that if I ask my son to do something “one-off,” there’s a much higher chance of a big negative reaction and resistance. Basically, he’s just too into whatever it is at the time to switch to doing my boring thing — usually homework or some other job that needs doing…

The solution?

Get as much of what they need to do into a habit. Make it the same every day so they know and accept what’s coming! This works like a charm.

And that’s a real world tip straight from the “coal-face” of life! :-)

Good habits for kids

For example, three good habits that immediately spring to mind are;

  1. Bed making — always makes me smile this one, when I go into his room and the bed is beautifully tidy, pajamas neatly folded on the pillow and the rest of the room looks — well let’s just say it needs more work :-)
  2. Dog walking. He does this straight after school so there’s a solid trigger (or link). Ask him at any other time to walk the dog and I can expect a lot of resistance.
  3. Snacking. It’s a long time from his lunch to dinner. He usually gets his snack sorted with only an occasional prompt. It the same snack every day — fruit and yoghurt.

Some habits are definitely harder to install than others — remember how long it took your kids to say “please” and “thank you”? :-)

Best parenting habit?

Oh and talking of kids and habits — one of the best habits I ever got into when Sam was younger was “talky time” before bed — actually in bed. It was usually anything from five to thirty minutes depending on how long he’d managed to delay bed-time!

This is a fantastic habit — it allows them to tell you about anything that’s bothering them. And it allows you to slip in whatever is bothering you about their behavior, or what you love about them in a calm and fun way. Sam absolutely loved it.

More fun and peace!

So, if you want more fun times and less conflict with your kids, then it’s “softly, softly catchy monkey.” Get them to do whatever it is you need them to do (as much of it as possible anyway) into daily or weekly habits.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

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