A Reader asks:
Can you, or have you already, give us some specific ways to instill good habits without nagging and constant reminding? Or does such a thing exist? I'm thinking of things like putting things back where they go, dirty clothes INSIDE the clothes hamper, etc. The child I'm dealing with is 7 1/2.
Books often make child training sound so tidy and systematic, but I feel it is more complex and although we can take the principles and apply them, we need wisdom to implement them for each child. I think a seven year old often needs gentle reminders. However, there sometimes comes a point when Mom needs to assess the situation (applying wisdom) and determine if the child has slipped into a bad habit.
Recently, I realized that my daughters were ALL becoming careless with their daily duties often saying, "Oh, I forgot." So my husband and I decided that rather than chiding them with exasperation (which is what I was doing) we would just have them stop whatever they were doing when we realized they hadn't done the chore, and make them do it immediately. They have not liked missing playtime with their friends, or having to get out of bed when falling asleep to complete a missing chore or missing eating dinner with the family. Sometimes I have purposely waited until an important event was happening before pointing out the undone chore so that my child would learn the lesson quicker. It is helping, slowly but surely.
If I determine that my child is just being disobedient, then I've made them do the chore and added another on top of it keeping the consequence fitting the offense. For example, if the clothing is not in the hamper but on the floor, then the child will put the clothing in the hamper and then clean the bathroom for making it untidy or fold a batch of clothing alone.
one step at a time...