How to get kids to help out around the house… without the whining


Parents know kids should help out around the house. The problem is getting them to actually do it. Why is it so tough? Well, for many parents, we simply can’t stand the bickering and nagging that is required to mobilize our kids into action.

We get worn down. We don’t want another fight. We find it easier to just load the dishwasher ourselves (and, bonus, we can load it exactly the way we like).

But then another year passes and we feel resentment building over our work load. We see our children getting older, but not getting more responsible. So, the desire to get them doing some chores rises again.

Well, I say “yay” to that! But this time I want to help you so your chores really stick! Here’s how:

1. Call a meeting
If you are doing regular family meetings, just put chores on the agenda. If you are not, that is okay — just plan to have a one-off family pow wow.

2. Present the current division of labour
Write each family member’s name on a sheet of paper. Under their name list their current jobs. It should quickly become visually clear that mom and dad are doing the lion’s share of the work around the house.

3. Suggest a change and a benefit
Children have a finely tuned fairness metre. They will see that the current situation is unfair (even if they deny it or don’t say it out loud). Kids also yearn for time with their parents.

Explain that you would like to find a way to balance the load a bit. You are hoping to free up some time so you can have more family fun together. Ask if they would like that, too. Get your goals aligned as a family first.

Explain that if each child took some items off your list, the work would go faster, be more fun and then you’d have more time to do things like playing a board game or hockey in the driveway.

4. Divide and conquer
Ask each child to volunteer to take one or two items off the chore list. Assure them that this is not a life sentence — next week chores can be reassigned, rotating chores through the family so no one has to bear the full burden of toilet duty.

5. Be specific
Ensure accountability by spelling out the fine print: when will the chore be completed? Precisely what is expected? For example, when we say “clean the bathroom” what exactly is included? Toilets? Mirrors? Wastebaskets? And, importantly, what will happen if the chore is not completed as spelled out by the deadline mutually agreed upon?

When children are involved in the establishment of the rules, there is greater compliance and more goodwill when consequences need to be enforced.

Two techniques to make the implementation easier:
Use “when___, then____” statements instead of threats threats: For example: “When the playroom is picked up, then we can move on to supper.” Or, “When the recycling bins have been brought in, then I know it’s time for the family movie.”

Let life unfold: We call it a “natural consequence” when children experience the outcomes of not doing their chores without any intervention from us. For example, simply sit at the table and wait for the table setter to realize on her own that plates and cups and forks are missing. The natural consequence of failing to put your school uniform in the wash is that it doesn’t get cleaned.

When parents arrange a consequence that fits with the action or inaction, it’s called a logical consequence. For example, when guinea pig cages are not cleaned as agreed, guinea pigs need to be moved to a more caring home. Or, if bedrooms are not company-ready, play dates will have to be suspended until they are.

The trick here is to follow through. No idle threats please! Neighbours and friends are usually very happy to help out with occasional pet-sitting or play-date rearrangement, when the need arises.

Source: parent dish

When Smartphone Is Near, Parenting May Falter

Mealtime is supposed to be family time, but a new study suggests that ever-present smartphones are impeding parent-child communication at the table.

Researchers who observed more than 50 family-type groups eating out found a significant number of adults were preoccupied with their smartphones.

“We know from decades of research that face-to-face interactions are important for cognitive, language and emotional development. Before mobile devices existed, mealtime would’ve been a time where we would’ve seen those interactions,” said study author Dr. Jenny Radesky, a fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.

It’s unclear how much of an impact parents’ smartphone use will ultimately have on a child’s development, and whether that effect will have a negative, positive or neutral impact, said the researchers.

One basic thing that may be affected is child vocabulary, said Dr. Rahil Briggs, director of pediatric behavioral health services at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “The single most powerful predictor of a child’s vocabulary is conversations with the child. Dinnertime is an important time for those conversations, and if you’re absorbed with your phone, that’s a lost opportunity.”

Briggs added that social, emotional and conversational skills might also be affected if parents spend too much time looking at their phones and other media.

“What really concerned me was those children who appeared to accept this lack of engagement. It seemed like they’d given up,” noted Briggs, who wasn’t involved with the research.

To capture a snapshot of how parents use their phones around their children at mealtime, Radesky and her colleagues visited Boston-area fast food restaurants and observed groups that included at least one adult and one or more children who looked younger than 10. They took detailed notes on how caregivers — which likely included parents, grandparents and babysitters — used their smartphones and how children responded.

They conducted 55 observations last summer. Forty caregivers took out their phones at some point during the meal. A few kept it on the table, but didn’t appear to use it. Another small group kept their phones in their hands while doing other things.

The largest group — 16 caregivers — seemed totally absorbed by their phones, using them continuously, even eating and talking while looking at the phone. In most cases, it appeared the caregivers were using the phones’ keyboards or making swiping motions on the phones rather than making phone calls.

Another nine caregivers used their devices intermittently, and then put the phone away. The researchers said these caregivers appeared to balance use of the device and paying attention to the child or children.

While the adults used their phones, some school-aged children were busy eating, talking to another child or playing with the toy that came with their meal, and didn’t seem concerned that the caregiver was on a device, especially if it was for a short period of time.

Source: webmd

Parents’ attitude linked to kids’ chronic pain

Adolescents whose parents suffer from chronic pain may be more likely to develop ongoing pain too – especially if the parent tends to ‘catastrophize’ pain, according to new research.

“Children are careful observers of everything that we do as parents, and how we respond to our pain and to their pain is no different,” said Anna Wilson, a psychologist at Oregon Health & Science University who led the study.

Sometimes acting worried or repeatedly asking how a child is feeling can lead them to worry that the problem they are having is serious, even if it isn’t, Wilson said.

“Unfortunately, we know from many research studies that this (misplaced) worry tends to make pain worse,” she told Reuters Health.

In the study, 178 kids between the ages of 11 and 14 were recruited through their schools. They filled out questionnaires asking about ongoing physical issues such as backaches, stomach pain and headaches, as well as how much the pain interfered with their everyday lives. The adolescents’ parents answered similar questions about their own pain.

Both kids and parents also filled out surveys focused on how they coped with the child’s pain, such as whether parent or child felt helpless about the condition or blew the pain out of proportion.

About one-fourth of adolescents and two-thirds of parents in the study reported having chronic pain, and parental pain was significantly linked to the likelihood of that parent’s child having pain.

Having a parent with pain and having a parent who magnified the significance of pain boosted the risk that a child would also put more emphasis on the pain’s importance, the team reports in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

The take-home point, according to Wilson, is that the most helpful way to approach ongoing pain in a child – such as repeated headaches or muscle aches – probably differs from the way a parent might act when the child has a short-term illness like stomach flu or a sprained ankle.

For that reason, it can be helpful for parents with chronic pain to seek outside help to pinpoint their own strengths, and to assist their kids in developing healthy ways to cope with pain and discomfort.

“Being a parent is hard; pain just makes it harder,” Wilson said.

“If you are a parent who has chronic pain and you are worried about how it might be impacting your child, talk with your own doctor, a pain psychologist or your child’s doctor,” she said.

Source: Reuters