Maintaining Motivation is a Family Affair

Parenting in Progress: Parents and children are capable of finding a routine and staying with it

By Jody Montgomery

“Motivation.”  How can a non-motivated mother . . . who is finally enjoying reading the novel that is “homework” for my sophomore write about becoming motivated? 

All students with homework or with summer school raise their hands! All parents with students with summer homework collapse because you thought this was over.  It is not, will not, and forever will not be “over.” 

There will always be something for our summer kids and parents to do. There will be chores to do, sandwiches to make, cars to clean, rooms to be vacuumed and perhaps schoolwork to be completed. 

Let us now dive into motivation (after the dip in the pool…it is summer you know). How does a child or a parent motivate to do the jobs needed?

First, create a schedule in print or with whiteboard markers and the infamous kitchen whiteboard. Let your child know that you, too, have jobs that need to be done so the quote, “You’re making me work during my freeeee time????” isn’t shared too frequently.

The schedule, if homework or summer school is involved, should be consistent times for the mandatory items. 

Chores can switch around, although…if motivation is a concern and you don’t want to live in a wasteland of dirty clothes, unscrubbed dishes, and towels on the bathroom floor, chores perhaps should be scheduled as well.   

Cooking?  Have your young children wash the fruit, clean the counter and sort the silverware. The olders can create menus and actually take turns creating dinners (and desserts). They can participate in the grocery store scavenger hunt as you give each older child a list of items needed. 

How about getting out of bed in the morning? Rising and shining? I remember someone near and dear to me complaining that her summer day was over by the time her teens would awake.  How about this….  “__9:30__am is wake up and 15 min later is “get up.”  If you aren’t “getting up” I will help you because I love you.  Your “bedtime” will be earlier and maybe that air horn in the garage will help. The hot water for showers may go off (in the middle of their shower if needed) and breakfast items are limited to items you may not want … (pineapple, cantaloupe, and bread (not toasted...as the appliances shut down at 10:00 am.  Love you, and I look forward to our day together!”

There was a poster by an unknown author that has some nice ideas for the topic of “Motivation.”  Some ideas are to create a dream board, visualize accomplishing your goals, don’t compare yourself to others, and surround yourself with positive people.  Whatever you need to feel that motivation…do it!  I always choose early morning for the “work”…then…summer play or lounging.  Speaking of which….

I now will move happily to our backyard lounge chair beneath the redwoods with my daughter’s summer reading. The windows can wait.


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