Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beyond Nagging

What Nannies and Au Pairs Can Do Instead of Nagging

Today we continue the discussion about motivating children to be successful at school and in life. Dorothy Rich, the author of MegaSkills asks, "How do we get people to do things?"

She continues, "Sports people say they do it with inspiration of heroes to be imitated and with competition (get out there and beat the other guy). Teachers do it with grades. Employers do it with salaries."

She asks, "How can parents [and caregivers] do it?"

Rich says, "I'd like to think that nagging works because it is such a handy thing to do. But, like millions of other parents, I have found that nagging can do just the opposite."

"Cutting down on nagging, in contrast, can be a motivating factor, one that works for both parent and child," explains the author.

"Here's an activity that cuts down on nagging because it cuts down on talking," says Rich.

She explains, "It uses notes -- in words and pictures -- as reminders."

For practice, announce that for five minutes no one will talk. Instead you will send notes. Try this out at the breakfast table. Write short messages such as, "Please pass the toast," and "May I have my lunch money?" If you enjoy the quiet this brings, you can try this for longer periods and at other times of the day.

Ask the child, "What do I nag about a lot?" (You probably already know). The answer might be, "Cleaning my room," or "Practicing the piano."

Children have been known to nag. Tell them what they nag about. It might be about getting ice cream or using the car, depending on the age.

Choose at least one nagging problem that is important to you and the child. Promise each other that instead of nagging, for one whole week you will send each other reminder notes.

Set up a message center for the reminders. A bulletin board in the kitchen or family room is a good place.

Or post reminders around the house. Leave the notes in the bathroom, on the stairs, or in other places where they will be seen. A note left on the pillow always seems to work.

After the week is over, check to see if the messages have worked. If they have, you may want to continue to keep up the writing and keep your nagging voices down.

Tomorrow we will discussing building motivation muscles.

Do you nag the children a lot? What do you nag the kids about? How do they nag you?


Anonymous said...

The children wine like crazy. I think their whining is the same as nagging. I think they continue to nag or whine because it works. If we (parents and I) were consistent on making them ask nicely and positively reinforce their helping out and having a good attitude they might nag so much. But, if it works they keep doing it. So we must be encouraging or enabling them to whine and nag even thought we don't mean to. Good article explaining why nagging continues.
Tatia, Parttime Nanny, Melrose Mass

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to admit I nag too. What a clever idea! We will definitely try this because even if we don't stop nagging it will be fun. I love when you share such clever resources!

Anonymous said...

This really sounds like fun. It will be fun unless the parents start leaving me messages all over the place. I would get defensive if the parents left post it notes all over the house telling me what to do. So some kids might too. It is definitely worth a try. Kids learn visually, auditory, and so on so help them remember to do things using all methods possible.
Colleen Memphis