Some days our kids feel like going to activities and some days they don’t.
Some days we feel up to bringing them and – other days – we don’t.
As parents, it’s up to us to guide our children to success, to motivate them toward the moment where they are finally in their class and smiling. Sometimes this means pushing them. Yet, we can also use good parenting strategies to focus on motivating rather than forcing.
First, look at what’s going on with them when it’s time to leave. Are they playing with friends, or watching TV, and don’t want to stop what they are currently doing? You can change this paradigm: 15 minutes before it’s time to leave, tell them to clean their room or do another chore.
Second, look at what’s going on with YOU when it’s time to leave. Are you agitated, rushed, or reluctant? Your emotions can determine how they react to leaving. If you’re calm, positive and excited, that will help them feel good about going too.
Finally, use rewards to help them establish good habits. Discuss with your child the expected behavior: when I say it’s time to go, please get on your shoes without complaining. When you do this three times, we can go out for ice cream or read an extra book at bedtime.
Along with any rewards, make sure you praise your child for specific good acts, whether that’s going to class nicely or performing their kata well. If your child leaves a class only to hear the negative, “you weren’t focusing,” “you weren’t working hard,” they are not going to feel successful. When we don’t feel like we’re good at something, we don’t want to do it.
As we say in the dojo, catch them doing something good! And then you’ll see them having successes in every class.