A couple of weeks ago Crew had an exceptionally great chore morning. He was up and going right away and bounced from one task to the next. He was all done by 10 am. He even took pride in the aesthetics of his chore chart check off. (Yah- I said good day not good week…)
Anyway I wanted to “lock in” this successful morning inside him- meaning I wanted him to notice and remember what it felt like to have a good morning. I wanted to help him notice that doing work really does feel better than slacking. And then I wanted to root the good feeling in his memory.
I first asked, “Does this morning or yesterday morning feel better inside?” He said that today felt better. Then I asked him how it felt to get his chores done so fast? He said he felt good and he couldn’t believe it was only 10:00- that meant he had the rest of the day to play with his buddy, Trey. I told him his helpfulness made me happy too. I noticed how the whole house felt better because there was no yelling or nagging or laying around. I helped him take note of how good it felt to get up and get going and the benefits to obedience.
I tried the “Lock It In” method with Elle too. One day her room was nice and clean and I asked her how it felt to be in her room. She said it was relaxing and nice. I asked her if she felt better in a clean or messy room? She definitely liked a clean room better because there was more room to play. I wanted her to notice for herself that a clean room is a better feeling than a messy room so that in the end she wants a clean room, not because mom told her to clean it, but because it actually feels better.
I tried my own tactic on myself yesterday morning. I figured if it helps my kids, it could help me too. I had gotten up at 5:30 am and hit a 6 am yoga class. (This is huge for me; I am not a morning person.) As I was driving home, I asked myself questions and noted how I felt. I wanted my body to remember that it really does feel good to get up and exercise.
All of these times, I used the good moment as the teaching moment— not the morning when chores weren’t getting done and the room wasn’t getting clean or when I slept in. Bad days are not the time to lecture and teach. Emotions are already out of whack and the kids (and mom) are most likely shut down. We want to teach and notice and reflect in the good times and have them contrast their feelings with the bad times.
And you “lock it in” by asking questions that get them to compare, ponder, think and notice. They will draw their own conclusions that will hopefully influence future behavior.