Here's a for-instance: Our older three will be playing in the living room, and Mark and I will be in the kitchen. We will say, "Okay, it's almost dinnertime. Please come in and set the table."
What we expect: three cheerful children to show up in the kitchen, and get to work setting the table.
What we're getting: nothing.
Okay, that's not entirely true. Sometimes
Or one of them will come, but reluctantly, or with a disappointed-to-be-asked-to-leave-their-play sigh.
But more often than not, lately it seems as if I'm/we're speaking and they are simply not paying attention. Which means I am continually having to repeat an instruction, and that leads to exasperation and frustration on my part.
Recently I was reading through the comments section of this post, and one of the comments there gave an idea, which we have since implemented.
Here's the idea:
Penny jars. We've told our kids that each time we ask them to do something and they respond with a cheerful and willing "Okay, mommy!" and then obey right away, all the way, and cheerfully, they can put a penny in their jar.
So far, so good.
I have three cheerful children, absolutely motivated to get pennies in their respective jars. And hopefully re-learning the habit of cheerful obedience in the process.
And I am thankful to be able to spend my days looking for ways to reward them, rather than getting cranky with them.
Plus: think of all the fun we'll have learning about money when it comes time to change out their pennies for nickels, dimes, and quarters!
He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.