I like this article from Aish about cooperation from children because the author, Meir Wikler, expects children to help out as a matter of course. We shouldn’t need to give prizes or even stickers to our children every time they help us, nor inflict a “consequence,” even a “natural” one, on our flesh and blood when they fail to do as we ask.
When assignments are not completed on time, or worse, not completed at all, you face a more difficult challenge. At such times you must walk a tightrope, avoiding abrasive displays of resentment, on the one hand, while steering clear of minimizing the transgression on the other.
It’s not easy to put this into practice; old habits like threatening and yelling die hard. However, these techniques don’t seem to work in the long run (and for me, not even in the short run). The methods described in the linked article have worked for me, except that I find it best to let children choose the chores they want. Does it always go smoothly? No. Are there things I can do to improve the situation? Always.
What’s the problem with rewards? Well, I don’t like the extra work they entail: keeping track of who did what and figuring out what the reward should be and providing it. I can’t keep up with that in the long term. I feel the same about both material rewards and “parent time” rewards, like an extra story. I want my kids to do chores simply because the children are an important part of the family and old enough to share the responsibility of the housework.
I have a friend who teaches her children that rewards are a short-term tool to help develop new habits, not a prize for doing what they need to do anyway. That makes sense, but I haven’t tried it.
Blogging will be light for the next week or two, because of some real-life events, but please comment away!