How We…Motivate Our Kids!

It’s How We…Wednesday!  Once a month, Erika and I host a link up where we talk about how we (fill in the blank).  We’ll share and then we’re hoping you’ll link up and share too…because I LOVE learning new things from you ladies!  So far this year, we’ve discussed…

JANUARY: Our New Year’s Resolutions.
FEBRUARY: How we take care of ourselves
MARCH: How we mom fail and live to talk about it
APRIL: How we spring clean/organize
MAY: How we transition our wardrobe
JUNE: How we plan our summer vacations

And this month…HOW WE MOTIVATE OUR KIDS!

Hahahahahaha!  Clearly, when we sat down to come up with these prompts, I was looking to receive advice and not give it.  I mean, I doubt you want me to say “fear or bribery” right?! Haha!

I would LOVE tips from mamas out there with bigger kids on how to keep your kiddos motivated to you know do chores, read, do homework, keep their room clean, practice their sports/instruments/speech, etc.  I just know you ladies have some for me.

Right now, my kids are doing pretty good on the chores.  A few months ago, I talked about chores and allowances and you ladies gave me some great tips and suggestions.  I mean, they’re not exactly excited to do their chores, but they are and they’re earning a little money (where they’re learning how to tithe, save and then spend).

I would love some tips today on reading and homework!

Right now, they read because I tell them to (sometimes on their own, but for the most part, after I’ve prompted them).  With this new school year, I would love your suggestions for motivating them to do their homework.  I’m so conflicted on this topic.  I would prefer they come home and get it done before our evening activities begin…but I also know that after being in school all day, they don’t want to come right home and sit down to do more work.  Thoughts?  Tips?  Ideas?  There just never seems to be the right time to do it.

We have a big chalkboard upstairs and have tried a million different methods for writing down chores/expectations and then keeping track of it.  I think my kids are visual learners and like to see what they need to do every day in front of them.  That being said, right now, the board is blank because I’m thinking about the school year.

Any way…I would love your help!  Please comment and share!!

Next time on How We…it’s about packing lunches for school!

I can’t believe we’re already thinking about the school year!

If you blogged How We…Wednesday today too, make sure you link up below!

Here’s a list of what’s coming up the rest of the year…

 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I’m with sweet Ashby today as she gets an MRI.  Please say a prayer for her little heart.  I keep telling her that when she wakes up she’ll be fine (unlike the other times she wakes up), but she’s nervous.  We’re hoping this MRI doesn’t show anything yucky (like an aneurysm!), but gives the doctors lots of info for how we should proceed. xo

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90 Comments

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 11, 2018 at 4:37 am

    I think the chalkboard is a great idea! I would’ve loved it growing up. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Reply Erika Slaughter July 11, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Praying for Ashby this morning!! And coming back later to read these comments!

  • Reply Sarah July 11, 2018 at 5:16 am

    My kids love a good checklist – I list down what they need to do before they can play with friends, go to baseball, etc. it ranges from reading time, make bed, ride bike, do something nice with your sister, homework, etc. I give them the list and then there is no nagging or arguing. We also call it the high five game – they like a high five after they finish each item on their list.

  • Reply Carissa July 11, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Hi Shay,
    This is based on my experience as a child, so take it for what it’s worth. To me, it’s all about setting expectations, and understanding trade offs. Growing up, my sisters and I would come home from school, have an hour of free time where we ate an afternoon snacked and “relaxed” before promptly doing homework. While my working parents didn’t require or force us to, we knew the sooner we got it done, we could enjoy other activities before bedtime and repeating again the next day. I also realized my 5 yo nephew has a different perspective. He likes to come home from school, nap (he is wiped), and does his homework after dinner and bath. Granted he just finished kindergarten so there was enough time, but I think the schedule may change as he gets older. I think what helps is setting expectations, understanding trade offs, and getting in a routine. Then it becomes so natural it won’t feel like work. I hope that helps!

  • Reply Becky July 11, 2018 at 5:25 am

    I am both a mom and a 5th grade teacher… so I am writing this from my teacher perspective. Most likely Kensington will be starting to get more homework, and it will be more content related. Start a specific homework routine right away. (A certain time, a certain spot in the house, maybe with a snack.) I always tell my students that they should reading at home for at least 20 minutes a night. (Or more if they want!) Find books that they are interested in, and make special trips to the library or book store. On Pinterest there are so many pins of great books for certain grade levels.

  • Reply Lauren Schwartz July 11, 2018 at 5:46 am

    Look at the Vivofit Jr. watches on Amazon- all 3 of my kids have them and you control them through an app on your phone. Not only do they track steps, etc., but you can assign each child their own chores and assignments and they see the “coin” going into the piggy bank on their watch. When they earn enough coins, they exchange them in for rewards (again, something you set up on your phone). My kids have had them for over a year and are still obsessed.

  • Reply Laura July 11, 2018 at 5:52 am

    It’s funny you bring this up as I recently had the discussion about homework with a friend. Our kids are now grown and both of us have had our children comment on how good for them the before activities homework approach was for instilling non-procrastination skills. In our house, my girls had 30 minutes or so to grab a snack and unwind/play, and then it was time to hit the books. There was flexibility built in to allow for things like spelling practice in the car or at the siblings soccer game but for the most part our motto was, “Hit the books and then the rest of the night is yours.” The natural consequences of not having homework done earlier was having to work while the rest of the family was playing kickball or watching a movie. It also leaves a bumper for heavier homework nights to be split before and after activities (not to mention the inevitable “oh yeah, I forgot I needed…”). I also found my patience and theirs were better earlier than later. The habit carried over to college and they would hit the library right after class most days. Good luck!

    • Reply Patty July 11, 2018 at 9:25 am

      This is exactly how we did it, too, Laura. Our girls were really good with structure/expectations this way and they developed excellent habits which carried them through college. We also stressed “doing their best” instead of saying “we expect all A’s” and that relieved some of the pressure. As a result…they got excellent grades because THEY wanted them!

  • Reply Elspeth Mizner July 11, 2018 at 5:55 am

    I’ll be keeping Ashby in my prayers!! Looking forward to everyone’s responses!

  • Reply Amy July 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

    I said this when you did your allowance post too, but with our 12 year old, starting around age 8 (when we started allowance) every year on her birthday We add new privlage and a new responsibility. So like this year her allowance went up a dollar, and she has to star putting her laundry away. Maybe another year it’s feedinf the dog and staying up 30 minutes later.

    I think balancing it like this helps with motivation. She knows and expects it (and often asks before we have even realized we need to come up with it!) and I think being able to remember that one came with the other helps her get the “dirty work” done.

  • Reply Molly Kissel July 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

    My kiddos aren’t quite school age yet, but growing up I remember we got home from school at 3:15, and we always had until 4:00 to do whatever we wanted. Snack . . . tv . . . playing . . . we could do whatever until 4:00 and then everything stopped for homework. Eventually, I remember my brother and I not even taking the whole 45 minutes because we figured out that if we just finished our homework then we could keep on playing as long as possible. And on days when we did have to come home and do homework immediately due to evening activities, I remember my mom always had a special snack waiting for us. Bribery? Yes, but it worked and we looked forward to those snacks and still remember them, so I guess it was a success!

  • Reply Debbie Hibbert July 11, 2018 at 6:02 am

    So thankful we can bring our concerns to God. Prayers for Ashby.

  • Reply Heather July 11, 2018 at 6:15 am

    I know this may sound a bit crazy…but both of my kids are very visual too and I actually took them on a college tour to a top university of their choice when they were in elementary school. I didn´t book the actual tour like I had some sort of young genius child, we just walked around on our own…haha! They needed to know what they were working for…not just doing homework and not really understanding why it was important just because I said so. They were working towards something once they saw it in person. We made sure that they didn´t feel pressure to go to that particular school, just that if they worked hard they would have alot of choices like that one. Although, we may have slightly brainwashed one of the kids for our alma mater where she will now be starting her junior year 🙂

    • Reply Darcy July 11, 2018 at 9:27 am

      What a cool idea!!! I didn’t even think about how we talk about college to our kids….and they might not even know what that is/looks like/feels like. Great suggestion!

    • Reply Renn Mcmurray July 11, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      This commment reminded me of one of my best friends. Growing up she had lots of college T-shirt’s/sweatshirts. Harvard, Yale, local state colleges and wore them all the time. No huge college pressure from her parents just the reminder that you can go anywhere when you grow up.

  • Reply Brittany S July 11, 2018 at 6:22 am

    I just finished reading The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie and I loved it!!! I learned so much and she also includes fabulous book recommendations for different age groups. It’s a great resource that I know I will refer to over and over again as my kids grow. I highly recommend it!

  • Reply Laura Thomas July 11, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I will be praying for Ashby!
    Homework/Reading… we always do it directly after school with a fun snack. Bang it out and move on! I’m a teacher and have tried many ways, but I always come back to it getting some right after school.
    Reading- both of my kids read during the school year at night. They have their kindles or books with their reading light.
    Summer time they have more time to read and it’s in our daily routine… which brings me to the fun part!
    “I LOVE ME SOME TEN BUCKS!”
    We have a chart (I can email it to you) with all of the numbers 1-100. I have a secret number and after they either read a certain amount or complete their lessons that I leave out for them in the morning they get to try to guess my number! Eventually someone wins the $10 and we start over!! They LOVE it and tell everyone anout it. This might be our 3rd year doing it!
    💖💖💖💖 My boys are 7 and 9!!

  • Reply Narci Dreffs July 11, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Praying this morning for your sweet Ashby!! Xo I can’t wait to read everyone’s comments! 🙂

  • Reply Jennie July 11, 2018 at 6:43 am

    I use fear and bribery to motivate my kids! (16, 13, 10) 😂 This summer I wrote up a contract of daily chores and to do’s (eat 5 fruits and vegetables, do something kind for someone, read, weed, etc.) and has them sign it. Loss of electronics-or extra electronics time-is always a big motivator!

  • Reply Heather Stanton July 11, 2018 at 6:48 am

    I have a 12 year old and an 8 year old. I ask them everyday when they want to do their chores (I give a time frame…like “ it’s 9am. We need to do chores by 11), then they pick. Then we blast music…they pick the songs (they alternate). and see if they can get everything done in 3-4 songs. When you have Bruno Mars or Imagine Drangons playing…or whatever they pick….they jump in and knock chores out. Homework?? I have nothing for you! Will be reading for tips.

  • Reply DANIELLE K RIGG July 11, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Love the idea of a chalkboard. As a first grade teacher & Mom, I agree with you better to do after school. However, give them a little bit to unwind. I find a snack is a good way to unwind – does not take them long to eat. If they sit on the couch, they wont want to get up to do homework, they play a game – they will want to play another round. I find 15 mins. snack and then homework, has worked. This way they see if they get it done right away they have more time in the evening to play. I also have found if you wait till later or after dinner/sports, they are then to tired and it becomes a battle.
    I also love using the vivofit jr for chores. They set up how many coins to use for each chore and together we brainstorm what rewards they can cash the coins in for. We also use the timers on them for screen time, brushing teeth, cleaning up, etc. It works great.
    Cant wait to read other ideas, later today. Prayers for Ashby…

  • Reply Jami July 11, 2018 at 6:54 am

    I feel ya on the homework we have 30 minutes of veg out time when they get home. I set a timer and once it goes off then tackle homework reading logs, etc. Then we have time for family stuff. Anxious to see on the reading my kids never choose reading unless I tell them to.

  • Reply Cat July 11, 2018 at 7:00 am

    On homework… I always had a short break (watched 1/2 hour of TV) and a snack when I got home from school/after school activity, then it was homework time. In hindsight, my parents were great at emphasizing that school was priority #1 for me and my brother… there wasn’t even a question that homework would be done promptly and while we had energy to focus on it, as opposed to rushing through it before bed when we were tired and grumpy.

    We sat at the kitchen table together to complete it; my mom would be around doing things in the kitchen/laundry etc so she could answer questions if we had them and make sure we stayed on task 🙂 Setting that habit young, when homework isn’t as intense as middle/high school, helped us slide right into the heavier-homework routine as we got older!

  • Reply Sally July 11, 2018 at 7:03 am

    I’m a teacher & the last thing I wanted to do was try to get my own kids to do homework after school. We set a timer for about 30 mins when we got home. They could eat a snack, chill, watch tv, play or whatever. When the timer went off, they had to get homework/chores done. After that, they were free! That gave them a brain break, but if we waited until later…it was like pulling teeth. It worked well for us!! They knew what to expect. Later, they figured out if they ate a snack & did homework/chores first…then, they didn’t have to stop & go back.

  • Reply Erica July 11, 2018 at 7:05 am

    I have two teenagers. I pay them a little money each week for chores. When they were little I had a job board with $$ attached to the job. They loved that one. Now I will just take away their phone or car keys when they don’t get things done. Grades drop, lose your phone. Sassy mouth, oh I’m sorry, hand over the phone. It’s a great motivator! Each of them are different when it comes to homework. One likes to just get it over with and the other likes to do it later on. When they were younger, I had them do it while I was fixing dinner. Then I was there to answer questions and they wanted it done so they could play and eat.

  • Reply Joann July 11, 2018 at 7:06 am

    We have a set bedtime (during the school year). But because we (the parents) think reading is so important, we would let them stay up for an extra 30 minutes as long as they were reading. This is what we told our kids. Make sure you set the bedtime 30 minutes earlier than you want it to really be. Lol. All kids like to stay up past their bedtimes. This helped a lot plus letting them take charge of what they were reading like going to the library to pick out books or ordering from the scholastic book order. We also read books like Harry Potter out loud as a family sometimes.

    We always did homework right after school. They would get a snack, I would look through their folders, and they would do homework at the table. I could help with a question or quiz them over spelling. We did this from the start, and it was just our routine. Now they are in high school and have extra curriculars right after school so it’s more difficult. I have noticed that they try to do it during extra class time instead of talking with their friends. They just want to get it done.

    Just prayed for Ashby:)

  • Reply Elizabeth July 11, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Praying for Ashby this morning! She is such a trooper! As for the homework situation, I do not yet have kiddos, but when I was younger my parents always made me do my homework before I was allowed to go outside and play. As annoying as it was at the time, I truly think it helped me in the long run. In high school and college I always tried to get my homework done during study halls/in between classes/ right after class before I did anything else or went out with friends. I am not sure if your kiddos are like me, but I hated having that dark cloud hanging over my head knowing I had to do it later on. I couldn’t fully relax and enjoy myself until it was done first! Also- I never got into that terrible habit of procrastinating like a lot of my friends did!

  • Reply Tina July 11, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I can’t wait to read these comments! Homework has always been such a dread in our house. I’m with you on finding the right time to do it…how ’bout never?? Ha! For us, right after school does seem to work best, even though he’s totally over it at that point. Any time I let him wait until later, he has a harder time getting focused and staying on task. Having 2 younger ones at home, I also sometimes FORGET about homework, if we don’t do it right away. This past year, I kept supplies in the car and let him do it in the car a lot of days. That kept everyone in their seats so he wasn’t as distracted. At home, he’s constantly getting up to go to the bathroom, sharpen his pencil, you name it. Plus, my 2 year old is always ready to play with him and will not leave him alone. Once he finished, we would get ice cream/go to the park/something fun. So, he was motivated to get it done. Or…we stayed in the car in the driveway until it was done and then he could play outside. We are starting homeschool this year. So, I need aaalll the tips on motivation. — Prayers (and tears) for little Ashby!! Bless her sweet heart. <3

  • Reply Ashely July 11, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Love this! For us, when/then works wonders 🙂 WHEN your clipboard is done (it has chores, reading, homework, exercise etc) THEN you can play your iPad, or THEN we can leave to go to sports practice. Our kids still sometimes buck this system but for the most part it’s worked beautifully!

  • Reply Ashely July 11, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Love this! For our family when/then works wonders. WHEN your clipboard is done (it had chores, homework, exercise, reading etc) THEN we can go to football practice or THEN you can play your iPad etc. they sometimes buck the system but now it’s second nature, most days! Ha!

  • Reply Diane Hanna July 11, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I think it helps to give them timelines such as: Have your chores done by 2 p.m. This gives them a little freedom for them to decide when they want to do it and there is a deadline. It teaches them about working with deadlines and time management. I was late in the game on this because I didn’t start it until my kids were teenagers. If it had to be done by 2, they started as close to 2 as possible. But they got it done. A timeline also helps keep things a little more organized when you have extra curricular activities to plan around. You could give a “bonus” once a month if they meet all their deadlines.

  • Reply Abby July 11, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Prayers for Ashby! I’ve found right after school homework is the onlytkme that works for us. We get a snack and get busy. If there is a lot of studying we will sometimes do the written work first play then study after dinner. For mine getting to go play is the biggest motivator to get it done! The days I’ve tried to be “fun” and let them play first have ended in disaster. I’m trying to get them to stop playing to do homework and it usually ends in tears from one of the
    Kids.

  • Reply Lisa July 11, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Best Hack: “Choremonster” App! My kids are at home with a sitter all summer and after a few lazy weeks they are now doing chores to earn points for extra screentime, an end of summer sleepover, Saturday morning donuts (and it works with Disney Circle too for extra wifi time). I can add chores and approve chores all from my phone through the “Mothershp” App.

    Seriously BEST HACK of my summer!!

  • Reply Malorie Dunlap July 11, 2018 at 7:39 am

    getting kids to practice with a fight is challenging. As a piano teacher i give my students rewards. For every week they meet the practice requirements they get a sticker. Five stickers gets them a candy bar. If the teacher doesn’t do that, then you could. My students also forget throughout the week to practice because they don’t have a reminder. So make sure you’re reminding the kids to practice. Another thing kids love to do is teach. So sit down with your kids and have them teach you what they’re learning. They will have to practice more so they can teach you. Also, just be SO EXCITED when they play you a song. Praise them on how great of a job they’re doing. I hope these tips help!!

  • Reply Jamie July 11, 2018 at 7:39 am

    My son is almost 13 and very lazy when it comes to school work. I cannot wait to get some ideas here. There has to be something better than all the yelling and stress that didn’t work last year! 🙂

  • Reply Lindsey July 11, 2018 at 7:43 am

    For reading, we read in front of our kids a lot. We also read to our kids still (ages 12, 10 and 5). The other thing is, reading is reading. Let them read whatever they want. I used to worry about books reading on level but it’s summer and I just want my kids to read. So they read what they want. Sometimes it’s Calvin and Hobbs. Sometimes it’s Harry Potter. The only caveat is my 12 year old has required summer reading. So currently he reads about 40 minutes of whatever he wants and 20 minutes of his school summer reading. Oh and one more thing with reading, we do not allow screens in their bedrooms. So my kids read a ton in bed too.

    And homework, usually my kids don’t have time to do homework anytime but right after school. But I look at it this way, they have some down time (brain out time) on the bus or on the way home. Then we get it done while they’re still in the school mode. And then we enjoy our evening without homework hanging over our heads. With that said, my kids don’t have a ton of homework. My oldest has study hall daily. And my middle just doesn’t have a ton.

    Prayers for your sweet Ashby today! And mama too!

  • Reply Taylor July 11, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Dear God, I pray over sweet Ashby! Calm her heart with Your peace that passes all understanding. Please let NO aneurysms show up in the MRI. Thank you for Ashby, her loving family, and the medical care she is able to receive. Continue to protect this little girl and those she loves! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

  • Reply Angela Dawson July 11, 2018 at 7:56 am

    For homework during the school year we give our kids approximately 30 minutes to get a snack and “veg out” so to speak before homework hour. They typically get off the bus around 3:45 and homework hour starts at 4:15. We eat dinner pretty early so this works out that their homework is done before dinner. They’ll sit at the kitchen table and work out in while I finish preparing dinner that way if they have a question or need help I’m right there. My kids are the same age as yours and this works well because they know the expectation and it’s consistent. Once sports starts too it doesn’t have to change because it’s early enough in the evening where it doesn’t interfere. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Reply Prudence July 11, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Sending prayers of strength and comfort for sweet and brave Ashby. I hope the MRI provides answers for you and your family.

  • Reply Angela Dawson July 11, 2018 at 7:58 am

    It also helps that they aren’t allowed to do anything else until school work is finished 😉

  • Reply Jennifer Moncrieff July 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

    My kids have always done there homework after school. Now that they are in high school this has paid off. Some days they are done in 15 mins, sometimes hours later. But they get it done right away so the rest of the night is theirs or we can review for tests. Good luck!

  • Reply Sarah July 11, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I personally do not have kids yet but I remember very well when I was younger I was always allowed to play when I got home for about an hour. We ate dinner then I had to do my homework. I do feel that helped a ton getting to relax a bit before diving back in.

  • Reply Janie July 11, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Prayers for your sweet Ashby & all of you !

  • Reply Susie Harrold July 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I always gave my kids at about 30 minutes to decompress when they first got home. When we walked in the door, I had them take out their HW and anything I needed to see, then they got a snack and did whatever they wanted for a bit. When they were younger and didn’t have as much, they would come back to the designated area and do their HW, usually while I worked on dinner or something else nearby. If I had one who had a lot of questions or didn’t stay on track, I’d sit close by with something to occupy my time and just be at hand. With reading logs and read aloud, we’d often save those for after dinner and one could read to me and another to my husband. When they were older with so much more work, I had them clarify with me exactly how much had to be done that afternoon/evening. They would still have a break, but I showed them how to break the work into parts, with the hardest thing or most time consuming thing to be tackled first. I am a teacher, and I know how much kids end up sitting in one place throughout the day with their time on a tight schedule, so I am a big fan of down time. With the older kids, I modeled how to break a big HW night into manageable pieces so they’d still have their own time. I also kept a calendar posted for each child so that they could write in tests and projects. I would also model how to review for tests one day at a time rather than the night before cram. I had one child who needed me so much more than the others and who struggled greatly with math, so I would often create games and have tools ready to help. The other two really took off and did much of what I mentioned above on their own after a time. One last thing, when they had a project or report, I showed them how to break the assignment down into pieces and they would add this to their calendar. Instead of saying, “ Have you worked on your state notebook project today,” I’d just say, “ Remember, you’ve got to finish the bird and capital pages this week,” and it made something big more manageable. One of my children said they found themselves doing that in college – just breaking down huge assignments into manageable pieces on a time frame, so I know that stayed with them. I also put incentives in place and rewarded them when they were in elementary school for good attitudes, helping each other, diligence, and so on when it came to HW.

  • Reply Julie July 11, 2018 at 8:07 am

    This is probably one of the more unconventional tips you’ll have? but I really think the physical space matters to kids. For example, if I wanted them to read more, I would set up a “reading corner” in my child’s room. It doesn’t have to be a big deal-even just moving blankets and pillows and a favorite stuffed animal into a cozy corner would suffice for a little kid. At any rate, when kids have a fun space to do stuff in, it appeals to them and makes them want to do it on their own. When my kids (now 12,10,8) were a little younger, I set up a desk for each of them in the playroom. It was their own space and they could decorate however they wanted! But now they naturally enjoy sitting there to get work done, read a book, etc. It’s kind of like adults, if we have to do a chore (i.e. make dinner) it’s always more enjoyable in a nice clean kitchen that’s well organized. For my oldest, he did a chalkboard wall in his room which he LOVES and it helps him track his schedule, to dos, etc. I hope that helps?

  • Reply sydnee July 11, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I give my kids about 30 mins after they walk in the door from school to grab a snack, watch a little youtube video, etc before it’s homework time. The sooner they get it done, the more free time they have to do the things they want!

    Design by Sydnee | Window Shopping Wednesday 💗

  • Reply Kristi July 11, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Natural consequences worked for my daughter. She had an awesome third grade teacher and her rule was if you don’t do your homework, you stay in from recess. My daughter had to stay in from recess three times and has not “forgotten” to do her homework since. It worked so much better than me hounding her every night. The teacher told parents at the beginning of the year to step back and let the kids learn they are responsible for getting their homework done. She said it’s better to let them mess up now when the stakes are low.

  • Reply Jo Biddick July 11, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Praying for peace for dear Ashby and positive outcomes from the MRI ❤️

  • Reply CRyan July 11, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Hi Shay!
    Love your blog and I enjoy reading it every day:) I have 3 boys – 16, 14 and 12. It can be hard to motivate the boys because they have very different personalities but here are a couple of things that seem to be working for me. Each boy has a night to do dishes. If he helps me with cooking, then I help them with clean up. (That basically means I wash- they clear, dry and put away and they learn to cook without much of a fight). They earn money in various ways and we have them invest in the stock market. They go to our broker and he guides them (under our supervision) in picking out stocks of companies of products they use. They are learning a ton about money, investments and how some companies work. They are motivated to earn a certain amount and then go to invest it. They watch the stocks online or GASP! -Read the newspaper for info on companies or stocks they have invested in. They do have chores around the house but if tasks pop up that are not on their list, I remind them that As a family we are all here to help each other and work towards the same goal for the family. (Teamwork gets talked about- sometimes certain players of their favorite teams have to do more/less work at times. Same applies here – I get some eye rolls but they do the work without a fight:). They also have a summer list of things to do like reading, outside excercise, etc.. before they can touch technology (which is time limited). I have always liked the idea of having them “earn” overall. That in itself teaches them motivation – and hopefully a good work ethic!

  • Reply Dana July 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Loving all the tips and plan to incorporate into our routine for our 13 year old. I am anxious to hear about packing lunches. My daughter is overweight and I struggle with healthy lunches. She isn’t picky at all so the problem isn’t with her it’s with me and my lack of preparedness and thinking outside the box! thank you to all who participate in sharing!

  • Reply Jess July 11, 2018 at 8:36 am

    You may want to talk to your doctors about an ultrasound instead of an MRI. My daughter has had a tumor in her arm since birth and gets MRI’s every 3 months. She’s getting immune to anesthesia after a year and a half of this. Now we switch off between the two to give her little body a rest. It was never suggested to us until we were brainstorming together so I don’t think it’s protocol. Praying!

  • Reply Ashlyn July 11, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I don’t have kids but when I had to study/read for nursing school I’d put M&Ms on each page in the bottom right hand corner and every time I finished that page I got that M&M. It was little motivation like remembering I had more on the following pages that kept me going 🙂

  • Reply Hannah July 11, 2018 at 8:41 am

    As a teacher, I say if they have to have homework then they just need a routine. I would let THEM choose the routine. When they have choice they will work harder. Have them try a few things and decide what is a best fit for them. So, do they like doing it right after school with a snack? Or an hour later? Do they want to do it on the couch or outside? Then, let them know if they don’t follow their chosen routine you will have to choose it for them.

  • Reply Le Ann Osborne July 11, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Your kiiddos are too young to be really self-motivated to do their homework. At this point, it needs to be done by obedience. You can prepare them by saying, “okay, in 30 minutes we are going to do homework” etc. They do need to have a little relaxation when they first get home.

  • Reply Kathy Lang July 11, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Praying for Ashby! That sweet girl is so strong!

  • Reply Jennifer Goodwin July 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

    My kids are all teenagers now, ages 19, 18, and twins that are 15, and I will say that one thing is key: consistency. We have to be consistent in keeping up with just making them do the mundane stuff before they can do the fun stuff. It’s not easy or fun, especially when they forget, but I just always hope and pray that it’s been drilled into them at some point. When they were young, they were all in responsible for keeping their rooms, their bathrooms, and their bonus room clean. They still do that, a decade later. I never went behind them and “fixed” what they had done, I just would tell them what a great job they had done, and that would be it. Nothing big or fancy. We never did allowance; because in real life, you never really get paid for keeping up with your chores. It was just something we called their responsibilities, and it’s worked for them. There were times when they would keep forgetting to do things that we would break out an old fashioned chart reminding them of who did what and when, but other than that, we didn’t use anything else. I hope that helps a little!

  • Reply Vickie July 11, 2018 at 9:08 am

    We have four grown children ages 30, 26, 25, and 24. They are all well adjusted, Jesus loving individuals and they survived all the activities, chores, homework, and life! Each child when they hit sixth grade became responsible for their own laundry. I would help if needed or at times I showed them what grace feels like by doing it for them if the pile was pretty large. Homework was a mixed bag. Several of them took advantage at school when they had study hour or free time in class to get it done there. Others that were athletes did it late into the night after being at school for weightlifting, after school football, games, etc. I found that the more I put pressure on them to get things done in regards to homework the more they did not want to do it. They knew that Mom and Dad would not come to the rescue if they waited to the last minute or forgot important papers at home. We started early putting the responsibility for their homework on them. Believe me I work in higher education and I have seen more college students that cannot function for themselves because their parents did it all for them and was always rescuing them! For chores for the most part we stressed that we were all a family and it was not any one person’s job to take care of the home or chores. Taking away the phone or not having the keys to the cars also were great motivators when they were teenagers. Consistency is key. The ground rules you lay down now will help establish what is expected when they lose their minds and become teenagers/high schoolers. 🙂 Trust me those teen years require lots of patience, prayer, and persistence. Praying for your sweet girl today!

  • Reply Cristin M July 11, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Homework is my worst nightmare. This year, I changed things up a bit. My kiddo (2nd grade) was coming home with 20-45 minutes of homework per night. She is a good student, in honors classes and does sports or club activities every day after school. We have a family requirement/incentive that her bedtime is 7pm. however, she can extend by an hour if she is reading quietly in her room until 8pm. So that is how we get a solid hour of reading in per night (7 days a week).

    So back to this homework mess. I went to her teacher and basically started asking questions…does she “need” the extra practice if she is getting 100% on all tests and in class activities? Is she not getting in class work completed on time? Does her completing homework effect her grade? Well, in the end, we basically decided that homework was not necessary for my kiddo, at least not the “busy work” type homework. So she had a few projects to work on and a few assignments came home that she missed because she was out of regular class in her honors classes, but for the most part, we eliminated homework. Homework still came home, but she did not do it. We had a rule, you get below a 90% on a test, and were back to homework until the next exam…but otherwise, no homework. SO my suggestion would be to talk to your teachers next year about the at home workload. Kids deserve a break from school. They learn just as much volunteering, playing on a sports team, practicing a talent or hobby, or serving on a leadership team or club…so take home school is just not necessary in my opinion.

  • Reply Laci July 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Prayers for Ashby!

  • Reply Melissa A MacGregor July 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

    So… Homework for elementary age students is a huge pet peeve of mine. Battling over math worksheets or crossword puzzles is totally worthless on all levels. I advocated for not having homework for K-3rd grade in my kids’ elementary school and ultimately they stopped assigning it (except reading and a VERY occasional special project). Encourage your principals to reassess the homework policies in their schools. Reading and spending time outside or with friends and family is much more valuable. And kids can learn responsibility by doing actual productive things like chores 🙂 Reading for 20-30 minutes is another category – loads of benefits now and in the future. I find that having my kids (9 & 12 y.o. now) get in bed and do their 20-30 minutes is much more satisfying for everyone. I love reading before falling asleep so I’m hoping my kids get into the same habit!

  • Reply Maddie July 11, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Mine saw loft beds at IKEA they want and I told them I wasn’t buying them they could though! They also love a good trip to the dollar store (for poster boards!) or just general junk I’m tired of buying. Ha! I made a chore chart and the list of prices. From walking the dog to laundry. Then I put what charge them for fighting and the money bonus for voluntarily helping each other. I NEVER have cash so we use old fish tank marbles. Each marble is worth a quarter so chore range from 1 marble (mandatory dishwasher duty) to cleaning a bathroom (they love this one bc it’s worth 4 marbles!)

  • Reply Sara July 11, 2018 at 9:32 am

    We usually get home from school around 3.30pm. Sometimes, my kids will come straight through the door and do their homework immediately (by choice) and sometimes I have to set the timer. If we got the timer route, I set it for 30-45 minutes. They can watch TV or play outside. No iPads or video games though. I find that if they start playing a video game or watching their iPads right away, it’s much harder to get them to do homework. Reading is done at night before bed. Usually 20-30 minutes. Sports and after school activities can definitely make this hard, but I try to stick to the same routine no matter what time we get home. Chalkboard is a great idea so that the kids can see the entire week. I need to try that!

  • Reply Amanda @ That Inspired Chick July 11, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Praying for Ashby!! I just hate that she has to deal with this. Breaks my heart. I just started making the boys read for 20 minutes a day (threatening to take away TV/iPad works) and they are doing it without TOO much grumbling. We always need help in the homework department. I’m scared to see what 5th grade HW looks like! Fourth-grade math was hard enough (for me). haha
    That Inspired Chick

  • Reply WhittyWife July 11, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Praying right now for sweet Ashby! I’m looking forward to your next post telling us that the MRI looked great and that the doctors gained wisdom from it on how to best treat her going forward. 💗💗

  • Reply Emily Perkins July 11, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I used to feel the same as you about understanding that they needed a break after school, BUT with 4 kids and MANY sports/activities in the evenings, we don’t have a choice. We adopted the motto work hard first so we can play hard later. We go ahead and do homework immediately after school since it’s still fresh in their minds and we have the remainder of our evenings to enjoy without the stress and worry of school! It’s been a game changer! My son is in middle school and will sometimes have bigger projects that require additional work time, but for the most part, this is working for us!

  • Reply Linda Filtzkowski July 11, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Praying Ashby has a good day at the doctors and they have some solutions for you all!!
    Ok, this is coming from the mom of a Sophomore in high school this year. She is on swim, basketball, and softball teams so a sport every season(if you ask her she wouldn’t have it any other way) I am a firm believer in reading even if you have to push them at a younger age as it really helps to develop their writing skills. If you are reading sentences and paragraphs you are learning how to write them in your head. I really pushed reading at a younger age and now you will not ever, ever find her without a book. I am a firm believer of homework as soon as you get home, get it out of the way and have the rest of the night to do as you like. It gets harder as they get older and have sports practice or other activities but if this habit is instilled early it will continue. Encourage bringing your books home to study for a test even if you think you know it really well, it helps to go over it. As you get older at least in our district, by middle school they are either on honor roll or high honor roll every quarter and it is published in the local news paper. I don’t reward for a good report card but I do give a crisp $100 bill if she makes high honors all 4 quarters of the school year(only missed one quarter ever) Have them set goals for themselves, this helps to self motivate and then I don’t have to nag all the time. Right now her long term goal is valedictorian and she know what she needs to do to achieve it(she is #4 in her class right now so room for improvement) If it is her goal she is more willing to work for it. But we do always let her know it is ok if you miss your goal as long as you gave it your best effort! Good luck!

  • Reply Kathy Roe July 11, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Sending prayers for Ashby and for your family.

  • Reply Angela Ellingson July 11, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Really looking forward to reading through these comments. We have been trying to get in a groove with all of this, too, and have not quite found our sweet spot yet. Praying for Ashby now.

  • Reply Erin July 11, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I think this something all parents struggle with! My 13 year old daughter is heading into Jr High, and this past year I would allow her to have an hour of free time when she got home before making her start homework. This could mean watching a show, reading, playing outside, or chatting with me…something along those lines. Then after the hour was up, she would work on homework while I prepped supper. This worked really well for us! Now if she had a lot of homework and tests to study for we would tweak the free time…but for the most part this gave her an opportunity to unwind in the afternoons.

  • Reply Erin July 11, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Oh…and much love and prayers for Ashby!

  • Reply Becky July 11, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Do your kids have library cards? Such a good way to instill a love of reading in them by frequently visiting the public library and letting them choose books they are interested in. Most libraries have summer reading programs that offer prizes and incentives for motivation.

  • Reply AliJ July 11, 2018 at 10:45 am

    My soon to be 10 year old gets 2 hours a day of screen time (her choice so that could be TV/tablet/laptop) and she only gets it after her homework is done. Our daughter is very independent and does not want us to help her with homework so we just check it when it is done and if we find something that is wrong, we point it out to her and it is up to her to correct it. With that being said, that is also tied into her privileges for play dates, sleepovers, tech privileges etc. She does do swim team and that starts at 5:30PM and doesn’t end till around 7:30PM so there is no way she wants to do homework when she gets home because she’ll miss out on quiet time (it’s our phrase for unwinding from the day so we read, snuggle, maybe watch a short show if she hasn’t used up her screen time). At our school the students have to read and take a test and earn so many points so that is also tied into her lsoing screen time and her other privileges.

    I took a parenting class and one of the subjects discussed was allowances. Our daughter gets an allowance that is NOT tied to doing chores around the house and part of that allowance has to go to the church. If she wants to earn extra money, she has jobs or tasks she can do and I will pay for those. We just sat her down one day and said these are the expectations we have of you and you are not getting paid for them so that included putting away her own laundry, cleaning her sink in her bathroom, vacuuming and dusting her room, and just picking up after herself. She also is required to fix dinner once a week and that is usually on a Saturday or Sunday.

    We definitely do not coddle or helicopter parent our child – I’ve seen the consequences at both her elementary school and at my graduate school. She has to learn how to manage her time, set priorities and advocate for herself because I won’t always be around and I certainly do not want her being in college asking me to call her professor (and trust me, this happens at my graduate school quite a bit!!) because she’s sick or doing poorly in a class, it is up to her to get things done.

  • Reply Christine July 11, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Are your kids still motivated by the garmin Jr? Would 10 year olds still be into it or is there a better kindle based app for managing chores for tweens? (Kids have kindles and I have iPhone). Thanks!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      My kids LOVE their Garmins!!

  • Reply Jennifer Bishop July 11, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Hi.
    In our house, it was always “business before pleasure” when it came to homework. I just found that if my son relaxed a bunch after school, it was waayyy too hard to motivate back around to focused homework time. The mind is still on school mode when they get home so it was easier to keep him in that frame of mind.
    So, he walks in from school, and I would give him a snack while he was doing his homework. Then he was FREE for the rest of the afternoon and night. I told him if he just hunkered down and focused on the homework right after school, he would have the whole rest of the afternoon and night to do whatever he wanted. He is s senior in high school now and has the best study/work habits as a result.

  • Reply Ashli July 11, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Mine are teenagers……all I have to do to get them to do anything is to threaten to take away their phones!

  • Reply Colleen July 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    For reading this summer, I started letting my daughter earn a meal out with whoever she wants. They had a program when I was growing up at Pizza Hut called “Book It” and you would earn a personal pan pizza when you read a certain amount and I remember loving that. So I picked 7 books as the goal just because she is 7. She has already earned 2 meals out this summer and for 1 she picked a restaurant at a tennis club that she always wanted to try and picked me 🙂 They had white table clothes and everything (we went for lunch, naturally LOL!). The second meal she picked a Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse and she picked her grandparents. It’s been very motivating for her and she started a list of places she wants to go (McDonalds, a local Burger place etc.).

    For the school homework, I am interested to see responses as well! I have the same dilemma as you. It seems like doing it right after school is the way to go but I also see how exhausted they are when they get home. Mine are just getting to the ages of homework and I know it’s important to establish a routine early. Will be following what you think!

  • Reply Tami July 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    When our guys got to junior high school age and high school Thursday evening was huge at our house. We checked their grades online. Missing assignments, poor grades resulted in staying home on the weekend. If their rooms weren’t picked up on Thursday night they had to stay home on the weekend. It was mainly, bring down the dirty laundry, put away the clean, get rid of trash and run the vacuum. Staying home with the ‘rents all weekend is pretty motivating. By the second half of junior year we backed off the grades and let them take the consequences. We still checked but not as often. Senior year, they were on their own. Prepping for college! Less pressure with the dirty laundry also, as they started to figure out they wanted clean clothes. Teen years can be tough but really were fun too!

  • Reply Carrie July 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    We keep the routine going in the summer, they have to complete an hour of work a day and I am strict about it. This year I have them doing some work in the morning, with me ( or my sitter – I am a part time preschool special education teacher and we are in session for 5 weeks in the summer) and then “homework” that they must complete by the end of the day. In the morning it is no tech/tv unless that work is done. But even if it is a no tech/tv (we grow our brains some day and avoid it) they still have to complete the work. My youngest struggles in school and needs to work but my oldest is bright and a grade or two ahead but she still benefits from it. I find the transition to school and homework is easier if they keep it up in the summer.
    They complete their homework when they get home, nothing gets done until that is finished. I honestly have to say that I feel like a lot of the motivation needs to come from the school and is just an expectation at home. My first grader had a chart system and I had to sign off on it and my 4th grader just understood that her teacher would have consequences if it was never complete. The reward at home for finishing in a timely manner was more freedom to do what they want to do in the afternoon. Our district has drastically revised homework and their homework rarely exceeded 30 min, especially my 4th grader. In 5th grade I am told there is little to no homework which I find odd.
    As for motivating for reading. We do the library’s program which is an excellent reward system and then many places like Ritas also has an incentive program. My oldest honestly reads at least 2 chapter books a week, often more. My oldest struggles and hates reading so I pick out what she enjoys, animal non-fiction books, graphic novels, etc.
    My oldest is the best resource for books- loved the Percy Jackson series, Penderwick Sisters, Sarah Plain and Tall series when she was in 1st/2nd grade. She is going into 5th grade now but reads above an 8th grade level so we are in to your adults which is hard because I have to browse it first
    I like books like Geronimo Stilton, Owl Diaries, Dog Man, Mercy Watson, My Fathers Dragon for my 1st grader

  • Reply Liz Thorson July 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️ and the hope for good news from Ashby’s MRI. My heart hurts that she has to endure so many, often painful, procedures. I’m glad this one doesn’t hurt, but I’m so sorry she was so nervous regarding the potential for pain. Sweet girl. I’m so glad she has you for her mama.❤️

  • Reply Natashajk July 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    You need to figure out what works for your kids but our kids don’t have that much homework and they do it in the morning while they eat breakfast. We usually have enough extra time in the morning (and they feel fresher then), so it works for us. It gives us time for relaxation/playing after a busy day at school and evening activities when we have them.

    Both of our kids LOVE reading so we do that before bedtime however.

  • Reply Lauren D July 11, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I can’t remember if I posted this on your chores post, but I have a friend who has her kids do chores that are things they should be doing anyway (making their beds, cleaning up their toys, setting the dinner table, etc) without paying them. However, doing these chores makes them “eligible” to do other chores which earn them money, tougher things like clean the bathroom for example. So if they want to be paid, they have to do the basic stuff as well.

  • Reply Tiff July 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    We have a giant bag of different sized pom-poms. Each kid has an empty jar and when they do a chore or something that they’re supposed to do, we’ll give them a pom-pom to put in a jar. Depending on what the chore was and/or how difficult, they might get a bigger sized pom-pom. Once they’ve filled up their jar, they’re allowed to choose a small prize or toy. It’s been a great way to teach them how to earn what they want without having to always use money. 🙂

  • Reply Barbara Parnell July 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Reading has always been one of the most important things for me when it comes to my kids. I wasn’t so worried about what they were reading(as long as it was G rated), but more interested in them reading something. That meant comic books, how to books, the Sunday comics, etc. Whatever they were interested in at the time, we would encourage with trips to the library or bookstore, and we made those days “special events” so it didn’t seem like a chore to them. We also got them magazine subscriptions..ranging from dogs to science, to Ranger Rick or whatever they were into at the time. They always looked forward to their monthly magazines coming in the mail! Another thing we did was read to them at bedtime…even as they were older(up to 14 ,I think)…they loved to listen to my husband ot I read their favorite chapter book…part of becoming a strong reader and being articulate comes from listening to literature as well. Sometimes,they are actually interested in some great chapter books but may be turned off by how long or difficult they are, so reading together helps solve those problems. Hope this helps!
    Oh and as for chores…cash is king!! LOL..actually praise for helping is very effective too. Good luck!

  • Reply Cynthia July 11, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    I have a 13 YO and a 16 YO. My 13 YO gets home at 3 pm and he must have his homework done by 5 pm. He usually has about 1/2 to a full hour of homework. If not he misses his next evening activity. Evening activities like soccer are a privilege and not a right. I know that he can handle and is ready for the privilege when he is taking care of business. He rarely misses his 5 pm deadline. He always has his homework done and self ready for his activity by 5 pm. We did this with our 16 YO and she now NEVER misses her targets. This year she took all AP or Pre-AP classes and even a class at a local college. She is a varsity swimmer and soccer player. She also plays competitive soccer and volunteers in our community. She THRIVES under having the independence to prioritize herself and her activities inside what works for our family. She has more latitude than our son because she is older and can drive herself. Oh and driving yourself is also a privilege and not a right. The privilege is earned by taking care of your business. I hope that makes sense.

  • Reply Jacquelyn July 11, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    This is how we do it and have no plans on changing: Homework as soon as they get home, they are still in school mode so just keep it going! Rehearsing music after dinner while mom is cleaning up, but still close by to help. Read in bed 20 min before lights out. iPads are reserved for weekends.

  • Reply Jess July 11, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    A little late to the game but as a teacher, I don’t believe in giving homework. (Shocking I know 😉 ha!) I work in a public school with a Montessori philosophy and we have a no homework policy… we would rather see our students working on valuable “practical life skills” like cooking, etc. while at home — math, language, science, etc. can all be easily icororated into these activities in a natural, authentic way. There is so much research to shows homework is not actually beneficial and can often cause academic burnout. I really hope many more educators follow suit. In my opinion, after working at school all day, a student should be able to go home to their “soft place to land” and let the stress of the day go. We forget sometimes that these are little people who work hard ALL day to keep it together, do their best, etc. It can be hard work being a kid! Some of the parents I work with have such high expectations for their children and push academics outside of our “no homework” policy and as a result, their children tend to not want to work on academics at school — their little brains are all maxed out! — just my two cents 😉

    As for reading – I’m a reading specialist and find that if kids have ownership over what they’re reading (choice of material, choice of style — comic/storybook/magazine/eBook, etc) then tend to be more engaged. Apps like RazKids, Teach Your Monster to Read and Epic are great too — sometimes technology makes it easier to have them buy in 🙂

    Love all the comments and tips! I always learn so much from this community!! xx

  • Reply Suhana Alam July 12, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Growing up, my mom always gave me 2-hour break after I get home from school to have snack, relax, unwind before starting on homework. I always loved that because I used to be so tired and fried after sitting all day learning in school so getting home and having the freedom to do as I wish for two hours is so needed. I do my homework/read with a fresh mind. I am able to study with a lot better focus. Every family is different but this worked for me growing up through college. I am more likely to get down and study when well-rested than when exhausted.

  • Reply Tina July 12, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I am so thankful that our elementary school has a no homework policy. Study after study has shown that homework at the elementary level is of little value. School days are longer than ever and the academic demands have grown to crazy expectations. Couple that with reduced (or no!) recess and short lunch periods…well it’s no wonder our kids are exhausted by the time they get home. Now having said all that, when homework comes along…in middle school, I’m sure we will experiment with what works for each kid. I suspect that we will let them “veg” when they get home and then do the homework thing after we’ve all had dinner. We limit the kids to one activity a semester if it includes a weekly evening practice. I don’t even know how kids who are involved in 3-4 activities can possibly get homework done too…..AND leave time to you know, just be a kid. As for chores we have a daily check off list and a token system. They start out the week with 10 tokens. They lose tokens for not completing chores, having a bad attitude, etc. At the end of the week each kid can cash them in for something off the “token” list. Things like, stay up 1/2 past bedtime, fro-yo, dollar store visit, skipping a chore or a game night. They also have things that require quite a bit of saving up of tokens. In fact they just saved up enough to cash in for a big ticket item….a sleepover at grandmas house!

  • Reply Melynda July 12, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    I don’t have a single bit of advice on how to get kids motivated to clean or do schoolwork. Our house is usually right on the cusp of being a wreck. However, all 3 of my kids LOVE books, being read to, and my older two love to read. My youngest starts kindergarten this year, so I’m hoping he’ll love to read soon as well. I think one of the biggest reasons my kids love to read is because we have lots of books and they’re visible. I know you don’t love clutter, but having books out on end table, easily accessible on small book cases in main parts of the house, and in baskets in rooms they spend the most time in may help motivate your kids. I’m always more likely to read something if it’s easily accessible and if a book is colorful my kids almost always grab it when they sit near it. I keep picture books out, chapter books, books above their reading level (but not maturity level), and books well below their reading levels. I don’t worry about challenging my kids if it’s not school related.

    Another thing I do is read with my kids. We read chapter books together and simple books as well. Even my 10 year old will listen to me read books even though he is too old for most books that interest my 5 year old. On a similar note, I read in front of my kids books for my own enjoyment. There’s research that shows kids are more likely to enjoy reading if they see their parents reading. I know you read a lot, but if you’re only reading when your kids are at school, doing sports, or in bed, it might be worth a try to spend some time reading in front of them daily.

    The last thing we’ve intentionally done to encourage reading is to limit screen time. I know that’s a whole issue in itself, but when kids spend less time watching someone else’s imagination play out on a screen they’re more likely to engage with a story and be drawn into it with their own imaginations. This is more doable for some families than others, but I’m just sharing what seems to have worked for us.

    Oh, we also spend time going to the library several times a month. We usually go and read books while we’re tgerr and don’t just run in, pick some books, and leave. Hope something here is helpful!

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