Help me troubleshoot this? Get kids to do stuff?
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 11:06 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I do think that's the crux of the problem but they don't need to notice the passage of time if they do it right away! If they start playing then of course they won't know to stop playing and start being productive. But the policy is that when you wake up you get dressed and stuff BEFORE you start playing. True I usually wake up before them but then I spring into action. So in terms of seeing productivity to join, they are slooowly pulling on their clothes while I've already set up all the food on the blech, started cutting up a salad, fully dressed.

Right, it's a relaxed day. They know they can't play yet but there's no concrete "This must happen now." And avoiding the job seems to be a higher priority than play. Why is this? Power struggle? (It's not really a simple logical consequence of "No play until you do this" because there is still eventually the upset and yelling parent trying to 'make' them set the table. Parent is invested, when the reality is that parents can only decide what they will do, not what their children will do.) I suspect that recent personal-account comment is very relevant here--it's a conflict situation that always goes discouragingly so they don't have a positive experience to build on.
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 12:12 pm
OP, I know you would like your kids to be self-motivated and mature enough to wake up in the morning and take care of responsibilities before they play.

But I don't know if that's a reasonable expectation. Adults have a hard time with this too.

I doubt they're waking up and making a conscious decision, "Let's go play and we'll set the table when Mommy starts yelling about it." They're waking up... finding something to eat... playing just one game... reading just one book... and all of a sudden it's 11:00 and they're still in pajamas and didn't daven and Tatty's about to walk in the door.

Previously you were offered a few suggestions to try to help them with that. Either hands-on (you guiding them through the morning routine) or hands-off (preparing a morning routine for them that is appealing enough that they want to move through it). Either way, incorporating rewards along the way (a breakfast treat for getting dressed, a fun activity after the table is set) will motivate them more to do it.

It's also a good idea to point out the intrinsic rewards: "Doesn't the table look nice? Now we can feel free to play the rest of the morning and we know Tatty will be so happy when he comes home." "Doesn't it feel good to be already dressed and davened? Now we can really enjoy our Shabbos games." "Wow, I feel so much calmer now that everyone and everything is ready for the seudah. Now I have the headspace to play a board game with you."

And the good news is that you already know, through trial and error, what DOESN'T work: Expecting them to remember/want to do the responsible stuff first in the morning, or yelling at them after the fact
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 12:23 pm
Maybe you can brainstorm a different way they can help for shabbos that they would be more interested in.
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 7:43 pm
My kids have Shabbos jobs to do BEFORE Shabbos, but on Shabbos morning, I let them be. I might make specific requests to a kid, but I want them to have that relaxed feeling on Shabbos, not a responsibility that weighs down on them. Especially 8-10 year olds.
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 8:03 pm
Every response by OP on this thread seems to be some variation on “I want to sleep late on Shabbos, and I’m resentful that parenting gets in the way of that”. I think you should switch them to a job that gets done at a time more convenient for you to supervise.
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 8:05 pm
Can you set a Shabbos alarm clock to go off at 10 am.
When the clock goes off they have to set the table
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 8:20 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I think I forgot to mention in the OP that I really already did almost everything suggested here. The real question is how and when to transition them to being more independent. For instance, after years of assisting and being prompted/coached by mommy, you'd think that the week mommy is sick they would think to do it themselves.

They have plenty of role modeling, lots of positive feedback, they've come along to choose pretty shabbos napkins, had fun setting the table in fancy ways, more positive feedback, we did all that. And yet when they're asked to do it on their own... nada. They have adult role models as well as teenage siblings who are very helpful (the teens help with cooking and cleaning that are above the level of the younger kids). Everyone, both adults, teens, and youngers, help with serving/clearing. The younger kids usually need to be asked to help with that too. So much for picking up on a spirit of teamwork.

OP to be honest the way you’re describing shabbos in your home sounds very stressful for the kids.
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Post Sun, Jun 26 2022, 8:25 pm
I didn't read all the responses so my apologies if I'm repeating.
You mentioned that "they" have to get the table set. They meaning more than one kid has to get it done?
A shared responsibility is no one's responsibility. Child one relies on child two and child two relies on child one. So if that's the case I'd start by making this only one child's responsibility.
Second, maybe it's too overwhelming task for this age kid? My daughter has the job of setting the table, and she kept neglecting it until we got to the bottom of it that she hates putting on the tablecloth because she simply has smaller hands than an adult and it takes a lot longer to get it straight! So I told her I'd put the tablecloth each Shabbos and she'd do the rest, and guess what, she's done it since! Perhaps you can cut one part of the job to make it a bit lighter and more age appropriate.
Third: Positive reinforcement! Your dh is focusing on the negative and there's nothing you can do about it, but you can be the one to focus on the positive and encourage them. They'll feel good about themselves and feel self motivated. Hopefully that'll override the negative yelling from dh.
Much luck!
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Post Mon, Jun 27 2022, 2:43 pm
I had similar issue - except DH didnt yell & just stopped asking / nagging the kids to get it done. Either he just got on with it & did it himself - sometimes just laying the table for the 2 of us so the kids got the message to lay the table themselves; sometime he would just go & take a sefer & sit & learn until everyone was dressed, & came down and until the kids would complain they are staaaarving when will lunch be ready... ("when you lay the table").
Bottom line, the yelling is not working. Kids dont learn from these situations, but generally learn from example.
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Post Mon, Jun 27 2022, 4:38 pm
OP, I can understand where you’re coming from.

I just listened to yesterday’s talk on the Coach Menachem podcast with Rabbi Shai’s Taub, and I’d highly recommend that you and DH schedule a date and listen to it together while driving. Pause it and discuss the concepts.

Parenting is NOT about what benefit you will get from the kids. And when it is about that, the kids will not feel safe and close to you.

And I’m an extremely accomplished person with a degree and business and… please don’t ask how many times I’ve forgotten to take out the trash to the street- and I do have an alarm about it in my phone!
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