Listen Better Part 1
I think everyone wishes that they could get their kids to listen better. Ben and I have come up with a list of 5 things that we do in our home to improve structure, and in turn improve our children’s behavior which should increase the likelihood that they will listen. Everyone knows that kids and teens do much better in a structured environment; but, this takes work when working with children who aren’t used to having structure in their life. This is not a comprehensive list, not a Top 5 list, but simply 5 of the many things that we do.
Have Everyone do Chores
In our home, we have everyone do chores. Yes, everyone. I even make make Ben do chores, even though he likes to pretend that he is too busy. This brings structure to our home because it is something that our foster children can expect and plan on. Part of the structure comes from the fact that everyone is doing chores. Our foster children know that we do chores because they see us doing them. This adds to the structure of our home. They begin to see that doing chores is simply what we do.
Each day they have a chore (depending on the age, some of our older kids get two chores). This is something that teens whine and complain about, but it helps them get into a healthy routine. It also adds to the structure of our home. Another thing that I do when it comes to chores is give them options. Sometimes I’ll give them a list of chores that need to be done by the end of the week, but I’ll let them choose which days they do certain chores. Other times, I have had them pick chores at random out of a cup. It doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters is that everyone does chores. Everyone expects to do it and can plan on it.
Hold Regular Family Meetings
We try to hold family meetings once a week. I say try here because it is really hard to be perfect, but we do try hard. Sometimes we miss a week; sometimes we have two a week. What matters is that they are regular. Family meetings improve the structure of our home because they help everyone get on the same page. This is an opportunity for each family member to have a voice and to learn the value of quality communication. It lets your foster children know that they are an important part of of your home. Family meetings become something that is expected, and sometimes something that your foster children are excited about because you’ll be discussing something fun.
We have used family meetings to discuss a wide variety of things. We’ve discussed appropriate chores, family activities, worries about school, new rules or expectations, and many other things. When your family meetings become regular, and your foster kids actively participate in them, the structure of your home is increased because your foster kids experience the value of quality communication.
Leave us a comment and let us know what you do to help your kids listen better!