Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Stop Nagging Your Kids

Say the word "nag" and the term wife and/or mother usually comes to mind. According to Webster's dictionary, to nag means "to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands". Mothers often find themselves having to repeatedly remind children to clean their room, do the dishes, brush their teeth, do their homework, come home on time, drive carefully, remember who they are, and turn off the TV. And yes, this is annoying to them, thus we are considered naggers.

In the past, Saturdays seemed to be the worst of all days for me. Perhaps because I created a to-do list a mile long and because the kids were home to nag, I nagged. And I nagged all of the kids, all day. No wonder they wanted to leave as soon as their chores were finished.

A couple of years ago, though, I read a book that changed things. This book taught me to give the kids a list of chores and to create consequences, both good and bad, that will be realized when the chores are done... or not.

This cuts out the Saturday morning nagging! I simply type my kids chores into where they can log in and see what needs to be done. comes with a point system whereby kids can earn rewards such as a date with Mom and Dad, an ice cream party, a movie night, or even a toy or game. This alone is great motivation to get things done without me having to nag.

However, the teenagers aren't so easily motivated by a juvenile internet job chart and point system. With them, harsher measures must be taken. Their rewards for getting their chores finished include being able to invite friends over and visit friends, use the computer for something other than homework, like Facebook, and getting movie time in the theater downstairs. Again, the consequences can do the nagging so I don't have to.

So last Saturday I had made an extensive list of chores for the dear ones to complete. They knew that they would not be able to invite friends over, play the Play Station or the computer, nor watch movies unless this list was completed. I began work on my chores wholeheartedly, but when I looked out the window, what should I see but the 14-year-old boy doing this...


I immediately felt my nagging adrenaline began to pump through my veins, and I began the process of stomping the down the hall to give him a good talking to. Halfway through my trek, though, I remembered my no-nagging policy. He could play basketball to his heart's content (and maybe if he keeps practicing he will actually make the team this year) and at some point he would remember that he couldn't have friends over (the wish of his heart) until his chores were finished.

So I grabbed my camera, put the strap around my neck and instead of nagging, took pictures of him and some of his siblings...


As you can see above, at the least the 9-year-old girl had started her chores, which included 30 minutes of Baby Hippo babysitting. The twins helped out with their chores, too...


...or not...


Anyway, I never nagged once and eventually he did get everything crossed off his list. It felt great not to have my name be synonymous with "nag", our house got tidied up, he learned a lesson about time organization and I got some fun pictures.

Let's see if I can remember to do this again next Saturday. Thanks for listening!

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!
See how we're doing it HERE! :)


Jen@Mommys Online Garage Sale said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. I have been reading the book "Raising Happiness" and it talks about children learning gratitude. How do they learn this when kids these days are handed everything and anything whenever they want it.

Both of my kids ages 7 & 9 have a laptop so this is going to be perfect for them. I have already created my account and added chores along with rewards. I can not wait for them to get home from school to show them our new family system.

Best of luck and thanks again!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Wow, Jen!~ I'm so happy that you have started up this program! I think your kids will really like it, as they are close to the same age my younger ones are. Let me know how it goes! :)

BarbaraJo said...

Jen... this question is from my wonderful Auntie in Canada.
I made the cookie mix yesterday and it was fabulous. It is exactly the same recipe I use for my chocolate chip cookies, but 8 times. I would like a photo of the bowl she uses to make the cookie mix. I misjudged how MUCH it makes and I ended up getting a whole bunch of really large bowls dirty while making it. If I could make this mix as fast as I can make one batch of these cookies, I would be so very happy! (And so would my family!) But I seriously need a much larger bowl. So, what bowl does a mother of 11 use?

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Wonderful aunt in Canada, I use the biggest metal bowl at Sam's, in the restaurant section. I don't know how many quarts it holds, but it is about 18 inches in diameter and about 8 inches deep. I hope you can find one!

Pablo Smith said...

Ooh, thanks for sharing this, Jen! This was so motivating and such a good reminder. And I think doing a computer chart will motivate my kids SO much better than a paper chart.

Pablo Smith said...

sorry, I always forget Pablo is signed in, and not me. It's Kristin, just for the record.

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Kristi, I always know it's you! And I always love it when you comment whether it's under Pueblo's name or not!