As a life coach and a parent, I've long been curious about how we can use self help techniques in day to day family life. Book theory is one thing, but how to apply it in real life situations?
If you've ever read anything about time management, you'll know that To Do lists are often recommended - the theory being that you can get a better handle on all the stuff floating around in your head, once you see it written down. Plus it becomes easier to say 'no' to new stuff once you see in black and white how much you have on your plate already.
I have written before about how I need to write stuff down to remember it. So I write a lot of To Do lists, and generally this helps me get things done. And recently, as the new school term was looming, and the tasks were piling up, I wondered if this method would work for children. If I wrote them a To Do list, would they actually do it? Or just fold it up into an aeroplane and put stickers down the side?
This is how we got on:
First of all, the lists I wrote were pretty short, and included plenty of fun and easy stuff too. So as well as Tidy your bedroom and Sort out your school bag, there were instructions like Hug Mum and Have a biscuit. If you do a list for your child, make it short and manageable, so they can feel like they've accomplished something.
This is definitely a technique for the over fives - they need to be able to read what's written down and tick it off themselves. And they need to be of an age to aspire to be a bit grown up sometimes. My children, aged 6 and 9, turned out to be delighted with their lists, as they'd only ever seen me with one before.
As the day progressed, I wondered whether I should have promised some sort of reward for completing the list, but that turned out not to be necessary - they got very focused on ticking everything off, and that seemed to be enough of a goal in itself.
And over all, it was a resounding success. My son actually took himself off to tidy his bedroom without nagging, muttering "I have to finish my list". I don't think I would use this technique too often as it would lose its novelty value. But from time to time, when you need to get your kids motivated, it's definitely worth a go.
How do you get your kids motivated? Leave a comment below
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