Your child is naturally wired to play and learn. It’s easy to teach good habits early by turning chores into silly fun and games. Try some of these mom-tested ideas and be amazed how quickly your kid will be saying “I did it!”
1. Make a game of it. For example, put away the clothes while singing a song. Try to finish before the song ends. Another silly game is when Mom pretends to put the clothes away in the wrong drawer and lets the child correct her. How about a challenge? “This is going to be really hard. I don’t know if you can do it. Today we have to put away our clothes with our tongues hanging out. I might have to take a picture of you and send it to Grandad.”
2. Provide rewards. Rewards for doing a good job are limited only by your imagination. We’ve used reading extra books, playing a game of their choice, wearing my necklace, backrubs or cooking together. My favorites are the simplest though-bear hugs, cartoon kisses (very loud and long) or one of my famous victory dances. It goes something like this. “I’ll close my eyes. If you can put on your clothes all by yourself, I’ll give you the biggest, craziest bear hug in the entire world.”
3. Verbal praise. This is different and specific according to each child’s personality. My daughter GLOWS to hear how thoughtful, helpful and smart she is. My youngest loves to hear how amazed I am that he could put away all his clothes because I thought only 6 year olds did that and he’s only 4. Could it get any more amazing than that?!
4. Recruit others. Call Grandma, Uncle Tim, Dad, or any other significant relative or friend to let them know the big news. (Sarah put on her PJs and even put away her dirty clothes!) A great way to reinforce good habits and keep loved ones involved.
5. Hide a treasure for them to find. After completing a task, I give them a surprise box or a simple treasure map. Sometimes this is a favorite stuffed animal, or coins, or a photo hidden under a pillow. The possibilities are endless but always fun. Kids love surprises.
These are only five of one hundred and thirty-six billion ways to creatively motivate your child. Which one will you try today?
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