“Cailey, I’ll give you a nickel if you play with Jensen while I get this job done.”
She takes in a deep breath, places her hands on her 6 year old hips and says sternly:
“Well. You’ll have to give it to me NOW, because last week you said that and I never saw THAT nickel.”
I turned to her father, “Evidently, she wants the money up front.”
You may call it bribery. We like to think of it as creative parenting. We offer the children a little added incentive to get them to do something that is not ordinarily expected of them. They have chores, believe me. And the payment for such chores comes in the form of free room and board. And an occasional Happy Meal.
We expect the girls to make their beds in the morning and clean their room. I assign a kitchen helper as well. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are Cailey’s days. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are Emme’s days. Sunday is a free-for-all with everyone pitching in with the hope of just getting fed, because I steer clear of cooking on Sunday.
They also help with laundry and general cleaning. We can’t wait for Jensen to get big enough to mow the lawn and take out the trash. He’ll even get KP duty. I believe a man ought to know how to navigate the kitchen. For his future wife’s sake, if nothing else. A future wife that I have already begun to pray for. That she have much stamina and strength.
But, I’ve devised a clever plan to get him started working on chores early. Lately, I’ve been handing him my cordless “Shark” sweeper and telling him it’s a car-car. I mean, it has wheels. And to him, anything with wheels constitutes a ride.
Money really means nothing to him at this point. I know this because whenever he starts making any loud noise and continues to recreate the sound over and over and over and over until Mommy’s head explodes all over the ceiling, and I yell, “I’LL GIVE YOU A DOLLAR IF YOU STOP MAKING THAT NOISE,” he only gets louder.
However, his form of currency comes in the form of Gummy Bears. If he stuffs enough of those into his pie hole he’s quiet for a good 10 minutes. Just long enough for me to regroup.
Creative parenting. It works for me.