What are some ways that we can make an unpleasant task more fun? I haven’t forgotten about Tammy’s legitimate concern that we don’t eliminate needed discipline from the equation. Let me be up front and state that I don’t think these issues are biblical– we don’t have a verse that says, “Thou shalt discipline thy son for x, y, and z, but not for a, b, or c.” On the other hand, wisdom would dictate that we do use creative motivation as well as discipline (back to the carrot and stick concept). It makes good sense!
So, as David is struggling to put all his toys away this morning, and my patience is running slim this morning, what can I do?
Here is where I think the situation isn’t as clear as saying, “put the priceless vase down right now” and disciplining if he disobeys. In this case, David is obeying: he is putting away toys. But… he gets distracted, he works ultra slowly, he finds a toy he hasn’t seen in awhile and wants to play with it, and so on. If I disciplined every time he stopped working, my patience would really run thin!!!
This is a good situation where creative motivation is helpful, wouldn’t you think? So what should I do? Or do you think disciplining each time he stops will be effective in fixing the problem?
Here are a few things that seem to help (although not as much today for some reason!).
- Putting “work” music on. This is any fast, marching music that gets us moving (nothing soothing)
- Working together (although I’m not putting away toys the whole time, I am cleaning up my things in this area).
- Reminding him that after we finish, we are going to run errands in the car (something desirable).
- Getting Bethel involved (she’s at a stage where she loves to put things away, and this for some reason motivates David to keep working, too!).
- Giving a number of things to pick up, and counting them: “Pick up 5 things. There’s one. There’s two. and so on”
- Actually staying with them. I want to get some things done before we leave, but trying to get them done, and help motivate is stressing me out. Perhaps I should just focus on one task, eh??
Okay, back to work! What other ideas have you found helpful?