So many parents want to know what is the secret to make your kids responsible. In other words, how can I be sure I’m doing what’s needed to help my child become a responsible adult??
Well, let’s talk a little about motivation.
It’s no secret that homeschoolers have to be self-motivated. And most of us parents are, or learn to become so very quickly. But what do you do when your kids aren’t motivated?
Maybe you’ve always homeschooled and your kids haven’t ever had a get-up-and-get-out-the-door-on-time schedule. Or maybe you started in traditional school and after transitioning to homeschool your kids took the “waking up at the crack of 10” and “going to school in pj’s” jokes to heart and have decided it’s cruise time.
Whatever your situation, if you’re finding it difficult to get your kids moving without resorting to threats, there’s one important concept that you need to always keep in mind:
Your kids need to be responsible for their own lives.
I know, I know, they’re only children. But the purpose of childhood is to learn how to be a successful, productive adult. And as homeschooling parents we’ve taken on the full responsibility of ensuring that happens.
If we’re going to encourage our kids to become self-driven then we have to quit pushing them. I remember when my daughter had first learned to ride a bike without training wheels. We’d go out on the trail so she could practice and every now and then there would be a hill she just couldn’t get up on her own. So instead of her having to stop and walk I’d push her up. Interestingly enough as soon as I’d start pushing…she’d stop peddling. From my perspective she was supposed to keep working on getting herself up the hill and I was supposed to give her that last little boost to help her out. But from her perspective – if I was doing the work for her then why did she need to work?
And really that’s how it’s going to be in every aspect of a child’s life. If you are always telling them it’s time to wake up and giving them each and every task throughout the day, they’ll never have the need to tell themselves to do anything. They’ll never be self-motivated.
So how do we train our kids to be responsible for themselves without setting them up for failure? Here are 3 tactics that can help you motivate your kids to get their work done every day.
1-Help them find a passion
“Purpose=hope=energy. Defining the path in front of you will give you the energy you need to complete it.” I love this quote from Dr. Isaiah Hankel’s book Black Hole Focus (Black Hole Focus: How Intelligent People Can Create a Powerful Purpose for Their Lives.) It’s true for adults and kids and everyone in between. Having a passion just gives us the fuel to get up and get going. That fuel leaks over into other areas of our lives and lifts our general motivation level.
When dealing with our kids we can find ways to tap into that passion and relate it to other areas where they may be struggling. In other words, instead of just telling them to complete a task or learn a new subject, explain how it will help in the pursuit of their dreams.
So how do we helps our kids find something they’re passionate about? We do that by introducing them to new things and showing them the possibilities.
2-Reconsider the activities they’re allowed to do in their free time
The idea is to find out what does your kid love to do and generally take for granted that they’ll be able to do it.
For us it was video games. For your kids it may be something else. When you narrow down what it is, come up with a limit or restriction based on whether or not they get all of their work done.
In our house video games are only allowed for a maximum of 1 hour. And they’re only allowed after all work for the day is done. Didn’t finish all your work? No video games. That’s it.
And I’ve even taken it a step further-if you whine about the work you’re supposed to be doing 3 times in a row, you lose 15 minutes of game time.
You could easily replicate this with TV time or playing with friends or even going to baseball practice.
Yes it will be difficult at first. And yes there will be tears. And yes it will break your heart. But imagine how much worse it will be when they get fired from their first job because they didn’t feel like working.
3-Let them check off their daily tasks
If your child is able to read, they are able to tell you when all their work is done for the day. (If you’re child is still learning to read, check out my posts on reading) You should not be keeping track of it for them.
There are many different ways of doing this. What it comes down to is-give your child a daily or weekly checklist and simply tell them to ask if they have a question otherwise let you know when everything is checked off.
This puts them in the driver’s seat and they will love it. Kids love control. They are seriously little control freaks. If you tell them that they get to decide what order to do their work and that they are in charge of making sure it all gets done…they will absolutely rise to the occasion. And some day they will absolutely thank you for it.
So your challenge is to brainstorm how to implement these strategies into your homeschool. Leave a comment and let us know what you came up with.