|Offer choice when trying to |
get your child to complete a task that
might be less than desirable.
I started thinking about I should have and could have phrased the questions differently and better, and was instantly brought back to my teaching days. Kids, like most everyone, like to feel like they're making their own choices about their actions. Few people like to be told what they need to do. Rather than asking a closed, dead-end question like, "Do you want to eat your vegetables?" or "Would you help me clean up this mess?", the better route would be to offer two choices. "Katie, do you want to eat your green beans or carrots first?" or "Katie, would you like to pick up your blocks, or do you want to pick up your puzzle pieces?" That way, the task is getting done, but the child feels like it's on her terms. Either way, the answer she picks still gets the goal accomplished, but she's not responding to a question that makes her feel trapped.
I used to use this all the time with my 5th and 3rd grade students, so I know it works for kids of all ages. The next time you're trying to get your child to perform a task that may be less than desirable, try phrasing it as though he has options. Rather than, "Emma, are you ready to start your homework?", try, "Emma, do you want to do your math homework, or read for 30 minutes first?" Rather than, "Chris, do you mind taking out the trash?", try, "Chris, would you rather take out the trash or clean the bathroom sink?"
So now, dear readers, I ask, "Would you rather leave a comment on this blog entry or the one that I wrote earlier in the week about sending your kids off to school?" The choice, is, of course, yours! :)