The most common problem parents face is motivating their child whether it takes the form of homework struggles, battles over messy rooms or cajoling toddlers to share or demanding that teens show respect.  

When I first started parenting, I never considered my kids wouldn’t do as I asked. You see, I’m a reasonable, rational, loving woman who makes simple requests so, really, how hard could it be to get compliance?  

Ah, ignorance is bliss!  

Reflecting on my parenting days, I learned that loving is job #1 and motivating is job #2. My real challenge was not sacrificing one for the other because as I made mistakes, self-corrected and then stumbled again, I experienced the very real consequences of prioritizing my short-term demands over my parent-child relationships. The cost was great. 

I had to learn the art of balancing both with the only tool I possessed: my creativity.

Recently, I met local mom and entrepreneur Melanie Weiss, who struck that balance by creating a helpful product called Kid To-Do Checklist. Like many of us, Weiss stressed out over getting her son to complete his daily chores (including homework) until she found the best way to motivate him while keeping her relationship on solid ground. So Weiss tapped into her parental creativity, crafting a solution that worked for her child. Here’s what she had to say: 

“When my son was in middle school, I would make him lists of things that needed to be done and add a reward at the end when he completed the items on his To-Do Checklist. He loved lists, and I found what worked like a charm was to write down what he needed to accomplish rather than the frustrating constant verbal reminders. 

“These lists worked for my son, helping him track his tasks and chores, and helping me shift the responsibility for his chores to him. Even more importantly, the lists helped me stop nagging, telling my child for the 20th time to do something like pick the towel up from the bedroom floor or feed the dog.  

“My son is now a successful college student who makes his own daily lists to stay organized and keep his priorities straight. Also the To-Do Checklist provides an easy way to keep track of your child’s accomplishments, homework and chores when you are not home to supervise the activities of the day.”

Balancing our requests, demands, and priorities with our parent-child relationship is essential because one day our parenting job will be over and what will remain is that loving relationship that we so carefully cultivated. Hopefully along the way, we helped our children learn skills so they can accomplish the tasks and goals in front of them. 

Everyone can benefit from Weiss’ product whether you purchase it or are inspired by it. If you’d like to grab one of her motivational notepads, you can find them at The Book Table in Oak Park or by contacting Weiss at melweiss1@comcast.net.

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Melissa Ford

As a coach and OakPark.com blogger, it's my intention to support people to step into a bigger, more powerful version of themselves whether it's in their personal or professional life. LIfe is about living,...