The stories of overnight success generally don’t show you the amount of hard work that was put in before the “overnight” sensation happened. If you look behind the headline it really is a story of how hard work pays off, often not now but always eventually. “Overnight” all of a sudden means 5, 10, 20 years! Keeping at something that you are passionate about pays off in the end, but it’s a long road to get there.
This family rule is inspiring and probably the hardest rule because at first, you will have to enforce it, meaning much more work for you, but it is SO worth it for you AND for your kids. If you have little ones and you want ME time in the future and if you want successful children, this rule is worth the effort.
I am the worst at bouncing from project to project. I get board, lose my imediate passion and move on to the next thing. I have realized that after about 2-3 months I get a low. Whatever “habit” I was trying to form feels too repetetive and I have to switch things up. Unfortunately, I have passed that on to my kids. I work hard, VERY hard, but I don’t push through that low when something isn’t thrilling anymore.
Ways to keep going when you hit that low:
- set small goals and WRITE THEM DOWN!
- set a timer to work on your project for a certain amount of time. This will help you get started AND feel like you can stop.
- know what needs to happen next. This helps you get things started tomorrow.
- educate yourself in what you are doing. That counts as working on your project!
- Most important START! The hardest thing to do is just get started every day. Get up and DO IT
Accomplishing those small goals will make you proud of the work you are putting in. You will share with your children when you are sitting around the dinner table talking about your day. They will learn about small victories and the importance of continuing something from you!
Share in Their Small Victories
We all have had the feeling of not wanting to work on something. Whether that’s cleaning up the house, fixing up the yard, going to work… we can’t expect our children to be happy about these things all the time either. I ask my children to do the same things I do.
Set a timer for 5-15 minutes and have them do something specific. Pick up for 5 minutes, pull weeds in the front yard for 15 minutes. Do it all together. Be proud of what they accomplished. Make it a big deal. Look at how much you did in only 15 mintues! It looks incredible. If they are having trouble starting their homework set a timer, tell them after 15 minutes (or 30 or whatever) they should treat themselves to a little something. (15 minutes of school work get a soda out of the fridge, another 15 minutes and go outside for a walk with the family-this may not seem like a reward but it will get the whole family rooting for your child to do homework).
Have Them Choose Their Rewards
When they are smaller their rewards will be something you choose. As a reward for my 4 year old learning a couple pages of her activity book sometimes she gets to choose a book for me to read to her, sometimes she gets to help me with something, sometimes she gets to go outside and play. I tell her based on what she wants at that moment “as soon as you finish this page we will go outside.”
My older kid’s understand work vs reward a little better. I they know what they like, they know what they want to do and what they need to accomplish. When I say do 30 minutes of homework and then take a 10 minute break they are able to understand that and figure out what they want to do with their 10 minutes. Taking frequent breaks is good for your mind so long as you don’t fill that time turning your brain off. That’s a reward for when you are completely done for the day.
A treasure box for little kids filled with little goodies might be a great reward especially if you are doing something longer term like home-schooling in this crazy COVID-19 time. For the older kids you can carry the same concept and have small rewards that could equal a bigger reward. For example for every 15 minutes they can choose a piece of paper from the treasure box. Put an amount on each paper and assign an amount to each reward. Ideas for the rewards might be additional minutes of screen time, choose a movie for the family tonight, choose dinner, choose which game the family will play, mom will do 1 of your chores(this would be worth the most! hehe).
Share With Them
Share stories with them of successful men and women. Not only financially sucessful, but other ways too. Some kids don’t care about money, maybe they have a heart for animals or children. Show them people who have worked hard to help and what they have accomplished!
My daughter has a facination with Amelia Earhart. I get excited about her too when I am talking with my daughter about all of her accomplishments. Do you know how strong she really was for her time? I hope my daughter is strong in herself just like Amelia. She worked so much harder than any man of her time and her name will live forever because of that.
Kids are smart. They will figure out that when they stick with something the reward is greater than if they quit. My kids are learning that now. The older ones have jobs with me and through their families that they get paid for. When they finish the task, they are paid. If they don’t finish or they don’t do good work, they don’t get paid. Just like real life.
I am not teaching my children to just show up to work and do the bare minimum. No matter what profession they choose, I want them to know that if you do your best work, you will get further than your peer who is just there for a paycheck. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but always eventually.
Peace and Balance,