So, how did we get to this point? I think the biggest thing is that the children have been out in the garden with me every summer since they were born.
- Give them a limited job, like weeding to the end of the row or helping for fifteen minutes. If they can see that there is an end to the job, it is easier than just being told to help, not knowing when they can have a break.
- Bribe them... Ahem, I mean reward them ;) Seriously, knowing that after the garden is weeded we will have popsicles is a wonderful motivator! It does not have to be "bribery". If they work hard there is nothing wrong with giving them a reward. I often use this if one child is being grumpy or lazy and is not doing their share of the work. Then those who helped cheerfully will have a treat with me, while the grumpy kid does not.
- My children know that whether it is in the garden or in the house, everyone in our family pitches in to help things run smoothly. I can not do it all by myself! I need their help! They know that they are needed, and that is important in helping them grow up to be, not only hard workers, but also confident in their abilities!
- When they are grumpy, lazy or not being helpful, they get extra work to do. The other day I asked Little Man to help me rake the grass after I mowed it. He had a certain section that he was supposed to do while I was doing the rest. He was in a bad mood and spent more time swinging the rake around than actually working. Eventually, while I was on the other side of the house, his sweet little sister offered to do it for him, and he, of course, let her. By the time I realized what was happening she had finished the job! So, I gave him more to do. I pointed out that he would have been done a long time ago if he had just done the original job properly and I would not have asked him to do any more. His laziness and bad attitude earned him the extra work. He was not happy about it, especially since the second spot I gave him to rake had more grass than his original job, but he did it, and by the time he was done his attitude had improved immensely! (I want to be real here. This did not work as easily as it might sound to those reading this. After I informed him that he was getting extra work to do, he ran off into the trees screaming... I thought about going after him and disciplining him immediately, but was feeling rather tired and grumpy myself by that time and chose instead to wait until he calmed down. It was probably half an hour before he came back to the house and we talked about his attitude and how running off screaming was not an appropriate response. By that time he had calmed down enough that he was willing to listen and get back to work. When he finished his job I gave him a big hug and let him know how much I appreciated his help.)
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