Chips and chores!

I walked through the kitchen, passing Nick, who was sitting on the sofa playing with the iPad. He looked at me and made the sign for "chips". "For sure", I said. "I need some help getting the washing off the line and then I can get the chips". Nick shook his head, "no". I shrugged my shoulders, grabbed the washing basket and headed to the washing line at the bottom of the garden.

I re-entered the kitchen with the fully loaded basket on my hip and placed it on the floor. Nick asked me again for some "chips". "Oh dear" I replied, "but you didn't come to help me with the washing".

I pause and wait for approximately twenty seconds.

Nick jumps up from the sofa, holds one side of the basket and waits for me to pick up the other side. Together we carry it to the table. I fold a cloth and pass it to Nick, indicating with my eyes where it should be put. We continue with this giver/putter routine for three items. 

When I have finished folding the washing, I give Nick a small bowl of chips.


This little story may sound a bit mundane, however, I want to spotlight our 'conversation'. 

Nick engaged with me and made a request. 

I approved his request, yet also made my own request. Using declarative language, I invited him to assist me (and dangled a little carrot chip to entice him!). 

Nick decided that he didn't want to help, which was fair enoughI collected the washing without him.

Nick made a further request for chips, however, I felt that it was important to express why I didn't think he should have any. 

Nick then had a bit of an 'AHA' moment and of his own accord made a plan to win those chips. He decided to come and help me. Smart boy.

I made sure to only fold three items, as didn't want to turn the experience into a chore.

I also didn't want to hand over the chips immediately as a 'reward', therefore I finished folding the clothes before getting him the chips.

*A simple interaction that gave me the opportunity to encourage Nick to think for himself and make his own choices. 


  1. Clever Nick! And very kind Nick too, helping his mum. I know there was a reward but still, he did it. xx

  2. Excellent, love that this was logical consequences not reward based!!!! You did a fab job defining the difference. :)

  3. I think that all parents could learn from this, you didn't end up resenting the fact that he didn't help and he didn't feel deprived of the chips - instead you made sure that it all ended well, with both of you happy x


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