06 September 2010

Clean up

The boys have to make a group effort at cleaning up the basement every couple of weeks.  They just have so many things that end up all over the floor. 

Play is a big part of their lives, and with that comes a mess, so, clean up has to be a part of it too.

No matter what, though, clean up time brings conflict. 

It starts with the claim that the youngest brother is the cause of the mess.  With the blame comes begging for help.  Once we get past that, the boys want to know how much they have to clean before they can quit.  My answer never changes, "all of it."

Usually, they ask for a reward for when they finish cleaning.  I usually say that the reward is a clean play area.  But, I always compliment the effort they've made and the job well done and make sure something fun follows the job. 

Kids will only do as much as we expect of them.  It is very important to have high expectations.  Sometimes we have to help them reach the goal, but if we don't expect them to achieve, they probably won't.

Praise is an important part of the process, but too much praise can backfire.  If the kids get too much praise, they stop doing things for the reward of the personal accomplishment and do it only to receive the praise.  We want our children to strive for success for the sake of personal achievement, not for the compliments we give them. 

Praise and reward the effort more than the achievement and you will foster desire and drive in your children.

The clean basement is the reward.  The joy of having an open space is the prize.  They fight it, but they do it and they make the effort together.  Every aspect of the job part of the learning process.  It all helps them grow and develop into productive, happy young men.

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