I am struggling with successfully motivating my children in a way that doesn’t require me to raise my voice. It seems that lately things escalate to raised voices very quickly in order to even get simple tasks completed like putting on shoes and getting in the car. Will is usually the difficult one, but Jack can have selective hearing from time to time.
Getting into the mind of a three-year-old is a difficult thing, especially Will. With Jack, usually he would follow directions after a few requests and once we started using the “1-2-3 Magic” approach we had a way to get him going. Will on the other hand is a different beast. He will purposely move as slow as possible completing a task while looking at you with a devious grin (which other people think is cute, until you have to live with it).
For example, last night we came home a bit late after spending the afternoon and evening at my aunt and uncle’s lake house, swimming and enjoying a warm summer day. When we arrived home the boys needed to take their shoes off and get upstairs to take quick showers. Will was the first to enter the house and when I found him a few minutes later he was laying on the step casually playing with his Croc. Once we were upstairs he walked around while he was supposed to be undressing, farted around trying to get up on the potty and messed around getting his pajamas on. He knows we are a captive audience waiting for him so he has the power and I end up helping him, just to get it done, which isn’t the right thing to do. How do I take back the power?
I have tried to do the “1-2-3 Magic” thing, but he doesn’t react to the first two numbers. I have tried slowly counting down from five, which has moderate success, but nothing that I think we can sustain. I have tried the threat of taking away toys, which I can actually be successful with in the car; if he isn’t in his seat with his arms through his straps than I take his book or toy away, but that doesn’t really work at bedtime.
As we near the start of preschool and the need to be out the door all ready to go in the morning (not like we were last year, without shoes and jacket at times) I am trying to figure out how to do it without yelling each day.
Does anyone have any advice for motivating a difficult to motivate child?