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Practice Makes Perfect

January 8, 2013

written by Cathy Baker, mom of two sweet ‘tween daughters, from MissouriPreview

As parents we’ve all been there. Backpacks not put away. Shoes abandoned wherever they fling them off (and sometimes not even in the same room!). Beds left unmade. Wet towels on bedroom floors.  Dirty dishes left on counter.

So how do you get your kids to actually do these things?!?!  I mean without nagging. And without yelling. And without sounding like a broken record?

Over the past several years, there is one thing I found that works well.  Practice. Let me explain.

When I find myself getting frustrated because I’m telling them for them bizzillionith time to, lets say, “hang up your backpack when you get home,”  I tell them, “Lately, you seem to have forgotten how to hang up your backpack, so starting tomorrow, we’re going to practice how to hang your backpack.”

The next day, without fail, they will drop their backpack on the couch and walk away.  So then I say, “Oh, it looks like we need to practice hanging up your backpack today.  Please practice hanging it back up 15 times today.”  And I make them walk back and forth from the couch to the hook 15 times, successfully completing the task each time. This will then continue for 4-5 days, with me adding 5  additional practices to each day.  By the 5th-6th day, I see them walk in the door, start to drop their bag, then think (and sometimes say out loud), “Oh no, I don’t want to practice today”…and viola! I watch them walk to hook and hang up their backpack without me saying a word!!

This gets them back into a habit they’ve slipped out of, and retrains them back to completing the habit.  And after awhile, when they start slipping again, we just practice, again.

I’m telling you, it’s easy, and it works! Practice does make perfect. It also makes mom happier. :)

Go ahead, try it!

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  1. Kim

      on January 8, 2013 10:31 am

    Perfect post for today…I haves this a lot since last year when you explained it to me. But lately lot little things I could use this on. Thanks for the reminder!!!!


  2. Marykate Wurster

      on January 8, 2013 11:55 am

    Brilliant – I am so doing this!!


  3. Heidi Farmer

      on January 14, 2013 4:33 pm

    Oh my gosh – this is incredibly brilliant!!! I can think of millions of things we need to “practice” with. Thank you!


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