Dear June: Help My Kids Help

Photo by limaoscarjuliet

Dear June, I have a hard time motivating my kids to do some work while we’re home during the day. I think they expect me to do it all. What can I do to get them to pitch in without the whining?

Dear Double-Duty Mom,

I think we all struggle with this from time to time. Here is what has helped my family. First, incorporating some structure into your day can help your kids realize that a productive, happy day (even for little people) is accomplished when both work and play occur. Verbal cues that one activity is about to end and another is going to start establish your expectations and allow them to be successful.

The other thing that has not only turned around my kids’ attitudes about work but has also given them a principle to live their lives by is that in order to have some play time we must first do some work. My busy little bees like to flit from one activity to the next. And when they request another activity, I have them perform a task first: make the bed, pick up the toys from the previous activity, clean up your room. I remind them that in order to play we need to do a little work, and they’ve even started chanting it like a mantra.

Hang in there, Mom. If this is a new habit, it might take some time. But the payoff is lifelong for your little people.

From my home to yours,

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