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Make Choosing Chores a Game

Distraction may overcome resistance and make your child more willing to move


One night when my son had four or five things he had to do and no particular inclination to do them, my husband and I made a game of it. We held out our fists and asked him to choose one; each fist had an item from his "to-do" list in it. He picked a fist, we opened it and made a big show of "reading" the winning chore, and he went off to do it without complaint. As he went through the list, we added "break" to the fist-held options he had to choose from, and by the end of the evening he had done everything and kind of gotten a kick out of it, too.

If your child, like mine, is not unwilling to do things but often hard to get started, making a little game can distract from resistance and focus attention on the task at hand. Besides the fist technique, you can try a folded paper fortune teller, a roll of the dice with numbers corresponding to the to-do items, a game spinner marked with to-do items, or pulling a chore out of a hat -- anything that will tickle your child enough to move him or her in the right direction.

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