In a perfect world I would have a sublimely serene relationship with my children where I would have them so well trained that I wouldn’t even need to utter the words, ‘Please clean your bedroom,’ or ‘hang up your towel,’ or ‘put your plate in the dishwasher’ or any other number of daily requests that I seem to repeat over and over in what must be a sound vacuum as my kids clearly don’t seem to hear me.
So many times I have pleaded with my kids to not make me a nag. I don’t want to be a nag and they don’t want me to nag them, but realistically, I will continue to repeatedly request that these simple chores be done until it escalates into a loud voice met with rolling eyes.
As a parent, it’s my responsibility to ensure that I raise children who are capable of rudimentary tidiness and I refuse to give in and do it for them, because a) I already know how to be tidy and b) they need to know there is no cleaning fairy who will magically arrive and get their rooms in order!
I’ve sat my kids down on several occasions and explained that if they do what I ask the first time then there is no need to increase the level of frustration I feel in repeating myself; it will mean they won’t be so annoyed by my persistent nagging and it will allow for the household to remain calm (and clean). At the end of the day, they know that I will ensure they do what I’m asking whether they do it straight away or after I confiscate their phone or other treasured items. So it’s in their best interests to do it immediately.
I try to reinforce rewards for doing their chores without being asked (or even if I just remind them once), but I’m yet to crack the code that has them automatically put away things they have used.
I want to be a fun, joking, loving Mum – not an annoyed, yelling disciplinarian!
I have even employed technology to put a fun spin on my nagging. I recorded my daily nag and turned it into a song on my Songify app so that I didn’t have to directly ask them to do their chores. It wasn’t successful, but it was a catchy rap! Maybe the key is to play that to them in their sleep to subliminally brain-wash them!
A phrase my Mum used to say repeatedly when I was a kid was ‘Don’t put it down, put it away!’ Now that I think of it, maybe I was guilty of making my Mum be a nag too! Perhaps there is hope that one day my nagging will result in my children changing their habits – after all it worked for my Mum!