Linking up with Shay and Erika for How We Wednesday. Today's topic is how we motivate our kids. That is a great question.
On one hand E is happy and enthusiastic to try new things, he isn't shy about meeting new people, and he is happy to play any sport, do any craft, or participate in any activity. He is very rarely upset about anything. Therefore socially and physically, we do not have to do much to encourage him, he's already there. Indirectly though, both Dave and I are very active and we have always done lots of stuff as a family so E was introduced to a lot of things early on and got comfortable with new situations.
However when it comes to reading and writing (our two challenges), it is a different story. Sometimes I think Dave and I need the motivation more than E! We know that it just takes lots of practice and we have all of the tools to help him out, but it takes time and we get frustrated. We try to motivate E by repeating a lot of the same things, that he needs to be ready for Grade 2, he should want to learn to read so he can pick up any book and read it, read the stuff on his games, read menus at restaurants, etc. We tell him we are proud of him when he tries and tell him that we get frustrated with him when it seems like he doesn't care about trying to learn. We reiterate that he already knows all of the letters and how to sound them out, and he knows what the words mean, how to look at the pictures for clues, and how to match up the things he already knows to new words he has never seen before. I know he is making improvements, but it is a slow process. We have used tv or iPad time as bribes for completing the reading and writing tasks, but we are trying to get away from that since learning is its own reward. That sounds a little facetious but we do say that. We point out how good it feels to get a good mark on a test, read something quickly, and complete a task properly. He's getting it (most of the time). Rather than juxtaposing reading with something "fun" he gets to do, we try to emphasize that reading is fun too!
As for helping around the house, he doesn't have many regular chores except for making his bed, but we ask him to help out by tidying up the toys, bringing his plate to the sink, and remembering to put his shoes and hat away when he gets inside. The motivation for these is just that he is part of a family/household/society and everyone has to contribute and help each other out.
We are keeping track of his daily chores on his Garmin Jr. watch. We say things like "make sure you get everything done so you can get your points!" But like the game Who's Line is it Anyway?, the points don't matter. There is no redemption of points for a new toy, game, book, or treat, since we would probably do it anyway.
We're hoping that Q just figures all of this out on his own ;)
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