My six-year-old daughter CANNOT get ready for school on time, EVER.
“Have you brushed your teeth?” I ask. “No.”
“You still haven’t made your bed,” I nag. She stares back at me.
“Five minutes till we leave.” I point to the clock as she lies naked on her bed reading a book.
It’s like a broken record, my repetitive nagging stuck in the daily grind like a needle stuck in the rut of a record, going nowhere.
“Try a reward scheme,” one friend suggested.
“Have you tried positive affirmations?” asked another.
I’ve tried it all: point charts, star charts, lucky dips, bribery and corruption, punishments in the form of pocket money deductions, iPad confiscation, I even left the house without her once… The list goes on. You see, my child does not react to incentives or negative consequences.
“I wrote an agreement with my son,” said another friend. “He signed it and he hasn’t been late since.”
So that afternoon I got busy typing up a very official looking agreement.
… It makes me very upset when you don’t get ready for school on time… I know you are a kind, generous girl but when you make your sister and I wait for you in the morning it is not kind… If you get ready on time you can … Do you agree to get ready for school by 8 o’clock every morning?…
I created empty ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ boxes for her to tick her selection and then I left the agreement on my daughter’s bed with a pencil on top. After she discovered it, she brought me the sheet of paper, signed, with a sweet little note:
“I WILL chri (try) and I am sore (sorry). I Love you.”
Best of all, she had ticked the ‘Yes’ box.
I kissed her forehead. She hugged me. Not a word was spoken.
The next day she was ready for school TEN minutes EARLY. The following day, she was ready on time again. And the next day, and even the one after that. But on Day 5 the needle got stuck in the record again. I found her lying in her pyjamas on the bed daydreaming.
“We have to leave in 2 minutes,” I said.
She picked up the agreement from her bedside table and pointed to her handwriting “I said I’d try.”
Someone HELP me!!!