I hate being a nag, I really do. However, on occasion, I find myself slipping into ‘repeat’ mode. I’m reminding the kids five times to do their laundry; finish their spelling work; put the glass in the sink; get to the kitchen table; and more. I will not be doing this any longer!
To prevent myself from becoming a permanent nag, I’ve decided it’s time to take action. All instructions will now be divided into two categories: Do it Now or Countdown.
Do It Now – In emergency situations, we don’t have time for our kids to second guess our decisions or question whether they need to move quickly. If I tell our kids to sit down, they need to do it immediately; not two minutes later. If I tell them to stop, they should do so on the spot.
While, hopefully, emergencies are not part of our weekly routine, there are still situations in which immediate action needs to be taken or should not be avoided, at any rate. Dinner is being served; kids need to get out the door; bedtime has arrived; and so forth. Some commands need to be taken care of immediately or consequences need to be doled out. What are those consequences? Each family needs to make those decisions for themselves. Whatever they are, I highly recommend establishing the boundaries and letting the kids know exactly what they’re in for if they choose not to obey. Once the ground rules have been stated, there is no excuse for lack of action.
Countdown – Let’s face it, when we’re in the middle of a creative flow, we hate being interrupted; our kids are no different. If we see our children in the middle of a project and need to interrupt them to handle something, I try to meet them halfway. We usually assess each situation and set a time limit on when said ‘chore’ needs to be accomplished. For example: Our kids might be in the middle of doing a little programming and I need them to transfer their laundry to the dryer. I will let them know I am setting a timer for ten minutes. They have ten to make sure the laundry gets handled and then there will be consequences.
No nagging on my part; no stress on theirs. Our children have a choice, live within the guidelines or be willing to accept the consequences. Often, they will push to the limit and barely get it done, other times they will surprise me and move immediately. Either way, they get it done and I don’t have to keep reminding them.
How are our children expected to differentiate between ‘Do it Now’ and ‘Countdown’? Easy; we use concise language when communicating with our children. “T, I would like you to put that in the sink now.” “Little Lady, I would like your laundry transferred. I understand you are programming right now. I’ll give you five minutes to save your project and then handle the chore.” Once our children learn the lingo, they will understand whether they need to move quickly or have a few minutes to spare. What happens if I give a quick command? Words such as “Stop!” or “Sit”? All commands not given a specific time limit are expected to be done immediately.
I will add, as a side note, our kids are free to ask for time. If I ask them to do something, but they need a minute to get it done, they are free to ask for the minute. However, if the minutes goes by and the action is still not done, there will be consequences. In addition, if they ask for the minute and are refused, they are expected to be polite and respectful of the refusal.
With these basic guidelines implemented, mommy feels like less of a nag and the kids feel less pressured. They might not like the consequences of their poor choices, but they are being trained and learning time management. No more nagging here!
Time to Chime In:
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” – Colossians 4:6