Earlier this week I blogged about a sermon asking me what good thing have I grown weary of and I am ready to fight for it. I was really struggling with this a few weeks ago with my daughter. She’s six and it had gotten to the point where I did not want to be around her. Everything out of her mouth was a complaint, she constantly whined and I was ready to ship her off somewhere. My husband felt the same way. He would plan these outings for the kids and she would ruin them with her crummy attitude. We had reached the point of giving up on having a nice family dynamic.
Not one to give up, especially on something as important as this, I came up with a plan. What would motivate her? Our family has a no iPad policy during the week, but the kids are allowed to use in on the weekends. Well, this led to binging and we really wanted to cut back on electronics, even on the weekends. I devised a point system: if the kids were good and had a good attitude for an entire day (with a few warnings permitted), they would each get a check mark for the day. Each check mark was equal to 20 minutes of iPad time on the weekend. We wrote the check marks on our family wipe board calendar so they could see how they were doing.
We started this three weeks ago and we haven’t had a single problem with our daughter since then. Her attitude has completely changed. She thanks us for things, she says “I love you” unprompted, and is such a pleasant person to be around. I am truly excited for the trips and activities we have planned in the next year now. We also have talked to her about her attitude and how it affects the rest of the family and I believe she has noticed the difference as well.
We had tried lots of different things with her before finding something that worked. Punishing and yelling clearly were not solutions. Every child is different, but I know it is possible to find something to motivate them. Children can make you weary, but if you persevere, the resulting good is more than worth it.