At our weekly meeting last fall, among other things, we discussed and planned our trip to Alaska with the boys. (the girls just took a trip with mom to California, so this one was for mom and dad and the boys.) We talked about what to bring: rain gear, extra clothes, cameras etc… but not big bulky things like sleeping bags since we were limited to a suitcase for each. We talked about what we might do (besides visit their siblings and our new grand-kids): Hike to see a glacier, bear hunting with brother Russ, fishing.
After we got them all primed up on the adventure we subtly let them know they’ll have to EARN their trip before we go… “We have LOTS of work to do before we go, because winter is right around the corner…” Soon after we had a plan for the days that followed.
One night as I was tucking in my 11 year old Andy, I asked him to tell me his PC’s (short for Positive Comments, a nightly routine in our house) for the day and surprisingly he said “making lots of progress on the old barn clean-up”, which was one of our pre-Alaska projects and is what all of us boys worked on before supper. Personally, I didn’t think it was much progress, since we were only able to work on it for about 1-1/2 hours, but I kept my thoughts to myself and let him feel good about it.
1. Use a special trip (or game, outing or something different) as leverage to get the kids to buy-in to work at home. It will be more fun for everyone AND the work will get done. Keep in mind that using it as leverage does not mean threatening to take it away, but maybe remind them of the plan if you need to.
2. Don’t burst their bubble when they are pleased with something that’s not much to you, but rather encourage them in their small accomplishments.