Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Today was a lesson in the importance of incentives. I learned today that I do not offer my children enough incentives.

School is such a battle in our house some days. Some school days bring me to tears and today was one of those awful days. Two of my children just wouldn't do school without complaining constantly. It didn't matter what I said or did. School was just "TOO HARD" for them to do. I kept telling them that it was not too hard. Their real problem was that they didn't WANT to do it. To make my point, I offered Amy a Hershey's kiss if she could get one section of her English done in under two minutes. I was told it was too hard to do that fast, but for the kiss she would try. I set the timer and she feverishly started her work. Guess how fast she did this "difficult" work......1 minute and 18 seconds. She didn't even hesitate at any of the work. She flew through it. I knew she could do it, so I wasn't the least bit surprised. I was kind of upset at her though. I really didn't want to give her the kiss, in my mind she didn't deserve it. She should have done it that quick without an incentive. Right!

Well, the Lord would have none of that attitude. He reminded me of how much I NEED incentives! For mom and I are losing weight together. I will get a brand new outfit from my favorite store, if I lose 20 pounds by September 13th. Now that is incentive that will motivate me. Shouldn't I lose the weight without the motivation? Yes, but I don't!! I LOVE to be motivated and rewarded for the things that I do. Why do I find it SO hard to motivate and reward my children for the things that they have to do? Don't get me wrong. I am not meaning offering Hershey kisses for doing school everyday, but it sure did work today. What I am meaning is that I need to work on coming up with some incentives for doing school with a great attitude, BEFORE the crisis comes!! Maybe even on a regular basis, but change around the incentives to keep them useful! I have no idea of what incentives to offer, because I am SO bad at this. I just expect them to do what I say and then I become VERY frustrated when they don't obey with a great attitude.
I need help!! How do you motivate your children or how were you motivated when you went to school? I really want to make school more fun for everyone!!


ET said...

Hi! I'm Tyler - SAHM to 5 (though not homeschooling). I have really been enjoying your blog the past few weeks!

I love your weight loss example (I too, am trying to lose weight) - it will come in handy to help my dh understand why I like to use 'bribes,' as he calls them.

I have no really good ideas on my own, but I have found a FANTASTIC book called "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel that is chalk full of ideas. At the end of each chapter she includes a tool chest of practical ideas to help win your kids' cooperation. (There are almost too many ideas to choose from!) She's also got great scripture references for us as moms and for us to teach our children, as relating to their behavior.


Jeff, Judith, Lauren, Emily, Daniel, Amy, and Joel said...

Thank you so much Tyler for all your help!! I will see if I can find that book REAL soon!!
Glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog. I LOVE NEW FRIENDS!!

Karen said...

You mean getting to play with Carter isn't motivation enough? :)

Thomas and Lisa said...

Judith, I have that book mentioned but I don't know if I have any other advice to offer. Sadly, we find ourselves much in the same place. Looking forward to hearing what people suggest. We have tried game time after supper for those done with their schoolwork. I too am tired of the whining and complaining...having them turn in work carelessly done. Yesterday, Thomas started working on a small project for some needed income, meaning he is away from home leaving me to do school on my own again...

Peggy said...

Judith, we are more alike than you would ever know. I was in tears yesterday over the SAME problem. Sara would NOT do school and was literally bawling and wailing. Anyway, I have no advice, but much empathy. We'll have to encourage each other on this journey. That's why my Facebook says I'm praying for wisdom. I also have that "Creative Correction" book and I think I need to dust it off. My mom says it's the most helpful book she's ever read on dsicipline - and she's got 6 kids!

Blessings and hugs!

Mom said...

When the children get their Valentine Cards you can use them
as an incentive, as it will be well worth their effort.

Jeff, Judith, Lauren, Emily, Daniel, Amy, and Joel said...

To my above commenters. Thank you so much for commenting. I love the interaction.
Karen, I so WISH Carter was enough!
Lisa, can I PLEASE borrow your book? That is, if you are not using it right now.
Peggy, thank you for understanding. I sometimes need that more than anything.
Mom, you are so wonderful!! I can't wait until they get their cards. I told them that they had to do school for five days in a row without complaining or throughing a fit, before they could have your card. This will either be very helpful or some of them my not get their card until they are in college! I hope whatever is in those cards will last that long...just in case!!

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