Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trickery and rewards...

How is your summer going?  By now you've probably heard the "I'm bored" song one too many times.  Your kids are probably begging to stay up later.  You're begging them to PLEASE work on their summer reading programs...

Today, I want to share with you a couple of tips that I've found extremely helpful this summer.  A Facebook friend posted a plea for help and advice and it started my little mind a'thinkin'.  

Tip one: Don't be afraid to use trickery. You can call it creative parenting if you like, but I kind of like calling it trickery :)

Like many of you, I have one child that doesn't want to do anything except read.  She would be content to sit in our recliner and read from the moment she wakes up - til the moment she goes to bed.  And then, like many of you, I have another child that is less than motivated to read unless his life is severely threatened...not that any of you would stoop to such measures {insert cheesy grin.}

Here is how we are tricking our son into reading.  Yes, I said trick... I'm not above trickery - don't judge me.  At the beginning of summer my 8 year old wanted to stay up later than his normal bed time.  Granted, he doesn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, but dog-on-it, bed time is MY time... It's quiet.  It's peaceful.  I get to RELAX... 

On the other hand, his 12.5 year old sister gets to stay up late...{insert lightbulb} in her room...reading!  Yes, self.  That's right.  She gets to stay up late so she can read...

Ah-ha.  Let the trickery begin!  Why yes, son.  You MAY stay up late like your older sister.  But she stays up late in her room so she can read.  Would you like to stay up late in your room so you can read, too???  

Well, let me tell you what!  The little guy fell for it hook, line and sinker!  While he was busy jumping on the bed with excitement, I ran straightway to the basement to find the boy a bedside lamp.  Bingo!

Now every night, he goes to his room at 9:00 as always, and he reads until 9:30... It's win-win.  He gets to stay up late, I get my peace and quiet.  AND I tricked him into reading.  {insert maniacal laugh.}

Tip two: Make them buy their time. Almost everything in life has a price.  Candy bars, soda, groceries, gasoline, clothing, shoes, and time.  Yes, time has a price, too.  At least in our house.

Again, like many of you, I have an 8 year old who is less than motivated to pull himself away from his ipod game Minecraft.  And he's also addicted to Gilligan's Island.  However, everything in moderation, we like to say.  Therefore, we have recently insisted that our son "purchase" his iPod and tv time with reading minutes.  What does that mean?  If he wants to play Minecraft on his ipod for 30 minutes he must first read for 30 minutes.  If he wants to watch an episode of Gilligan's island, he must purchase that with reading, or by completing a chore from his list. 

Our children see their parents heading off to work, working around the house, doing lawn jobs and completing daily tasks BEFORE they sit down to watch tv, or get on their electronic devices.  We want to teach them that hard work allows us to enjoy the fun stuff.  NOT that fun stuff allows us NOT to work.  

If you're in the middle of the summer reading slump, try one or both of these techniques for a week.  See if they work for you.  If so, let me know.  I'd love to hear your story.

If you have other ways of motivating your child...let me know that, as well.  I'd love to hear from you!

Only By His Grace,


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