Brush your teeth. Put your toys away. Do your homework. These are some of the many instructions that you would hear in any house with young children. Most of the time, these tasks would be followed. But most parents, since they are usually so busy with their jobs and meeting deadlines in the office in order to provide for their families, forget to explain the reason and meaning behind these instructions to their kids.
A child who answers, “Because my Mom and Dad said so” is a child living a likely colorless life with the possibility of even fear or resentment of their parents.
To avoid this from happening, here are a few tips that you can follow:
Explain the significance and identify the result
Take the time to explain the process and reason for the things you ask your child to do. You can then share the end result of their actions, especially if it benefits them directly.
When I explained to my 6 year-old why he should accomplish his homework as soon as possible immediately after school, I told him that not only would it help him retain the things he learned that day and get good grades (logic and reason), but it would also give him more time to play and do sports (benefits him directly).
Once I explained to him that he would have more time to play, he immediately made it a point to do his homework right away. After a 10-minute break from being in front of the computer screen for classes, he rushes to me with his textbooks and pencil in hand to get the work done. The bonus here is that his 4- year-old brother who witnessed him benefit from his actions, followed suit and asked if he could do his own homework as well.
Keep it at their level of interest
There is a very famous quote from one of my favorite Disney Classic Movies, Mary Poppins, where she says: “For every task that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and, snap, the job’s a game…”
Simple chores around the house can be easily accomplished and even sought after by your children if they become a fun activity.
Every morning, I play a game with my kids to see how long it would take them to fix their beds. I related it to another Disney Movie, Cars, where they are like the pit crew of Lightning McQueen. They have to work together to stack up their pillows, fold their bed sheets, and even take turns as the “Crew Chief”. I time them with my stopwatch and tell them how long it took to fix all their beds. After playing this game for a number of weeks, the kids developed the habit on their own and no longer wait for me to ask them to fix their beds or time them. My kids just have fun passing the pillows to each other and working together on a chore that would have otherwise taken a long time if done by just one person.
Acknowledge and praise
Employees of a corporation that receive positive feedback and recognition for the actions that they do in front of their peers are bound to repeat these actions. The same can be said with children. They love the attention and praise that parents give them no matter how small the task maybe.
One time after lunch, I asked my eldest daughter to help by distributing the multivitamins of her younger siblings. She followed and received thank you’s from her brothers and sister, while I gave her the thumbs up and said, “Good job, Ate! Thank you.” Her eyes beamed as she heard these positive words, and took the initiative even without me asking her. She even helps her younger siblings get their food. These actions, of course, are again met with praise and thanks by those that are affected by it. I even got her a small chocolate pasalubong as a reward for her help.
One day, I asked her what she would like as her reward. She told me that there was no need, and that just seeing her siblings’ smiles was good enough for her. She said if I bought anything, she wanted something that she could share with her siblings. It’s responses like these that would make any parent’s heart melt.
These efforts took a lot of time, patience, and repetition. Like an athlete repeating movements and drills to improve his “muscle memory”, a child too has to be able to repeat good actions and receive the same praise and reward, until they reach a point that it just becomes a habit for them.
About The Expert
Jose Maria Javier W. Bautista
Jose Maria Javier W. Bautista, or more known to his friends and students, as “Coach Pinggoy” or just “Coach”, is 37 years old and married for 12 years to Guila Alvarez Bautista. He has 4 children ages 10, 7 6 and 4, 2 boys and 2 girls. Coach Pinggoy has made a career as a professional sports events organizer and Ultimate Frisbee coach after he left the corporate life 15 years ago and perused a career in coaching full time.
He has coached over 1,000 students ages 2 to 25 years old and is currently coaching 2 Varsity High School teams in the south, PAREF Southridge and Woodrose. He has also been selected as the National Team Coach and Manager of both the Juniors (U20) and U24 National Teams that were supposed to be scheduled to compete in the World Junior Ultimate Championships in Malmo Sweden this year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coach Pinggoy has made it his life to be able to help our youth become not only better athletes and players but also good members of society. The instrument and means to achieve this for him is Ultimate Frisbee, which has given him and his family a lot of blessing and love like his wife, a really good job that he is passionate about and also a community that is full of support and life long friendships scattered all over the world.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.