“‘Please get dressed — we have to leave in five minutes,’ I pleaded for the 20th time, my patience waning. “You still need to brush your teeth. You haven’t packed your backpack! We’re going to be late for school, again.”
This was a typical weekday morning in my home last year. Unfortunately, my first- and third-graders couldn’t seem to grasp the morning routine. All three of us have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and we struggle with time management and executive functioning. As a result, my kids were late to school — a lot.
During the last month of school, when I was at my wit’s end, the principal called me in to discuss my kids’ excessive tardiness, and I knew something had to change. Fortunately, she was understanding, and I left the meeting with the beginning of an idea. By the first day of school this year, I had completely transformed our lives — the mornings and the evenings.
I accomplished this by paying my kids to perform basic life tasks. In behavioral psychology, this is called positive reinforcement. And it works.”