"Who wants to do something gross? You get to play with water!"
I never would have thought of this, but leave it to my wife to get creative in the parenting department. We were at that point where we absolutely had to clean out the fridge. New products were moving in, old stuff had to go. Of course, there are expired salad dressings and nearly empty salsa jars, and all of it has to get cleaned out so we can be a responsible 21st century family and recycle the bottles.
Since we are also a two-income family of 5 with an 8-month-old crawling around underfoot, rinsing out a dozen jars and bottles in the sink to the clinically sterilized level which our city recycling program requires is one of those chores which are likely to take several days for us to get through.
Enter Kate and her great on-the-spot problem-solving skills.
Quick, what is the first problem with asking a child to do a chore?
Answer: ALL THE INCESSANT WHINING.
Well, the above statement/question was just the perfect solution to get them interested and willing to do some work. It all lies in the presentation! What kid wouldn't get excited to either play with water or do something gross? That even makes me think I might enjoy this chore!
She cast the line out there and they took the bait. So nothing was left but to reel them in, set them up at the sink with some simple instructions and sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet. Soon, we had a counter full of clean bottles ready to go to the recycling center to get their new life.
This doesn't even have to be a one time thing. Think about how different activities are presented. You play a game, you get to go to the beach, you have to make your bed and pick up your clothes. So maybe tomorrow, instead of telling the kids just to pick up their toys, I'll take a page from my wife's playbook and dangle the offer of fun in front of them as a clever disguise for the work they're going to end up doing anyway.
Lets just hope I can pull it off as well as she did!