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Monday, July 8, 2013

8 Hours, 8 Questions


Its Summer.

And I have four children.

I love my four children, but there is something about being with them all day that magnifies the little sins in their hearts.

Now asking questions is not a sin, but I've noticed something. Answering their questions has bread laziness in them. 

I'm not talking about a question who answers are out of their grasp, I'm talking about questions that have answers right in front of them. Like "what are we having for lunch?" when I'm right in front of them putting the peanut butter on the bread. And I'm serious when I say its about 57 questions an hour between the four of them.

I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until my husband announced that for 5 minutes they couldn't ask me anything one evening, and said, "how do you do it?"

One morning in the haze of waking up it struck me! What if, for one day, {8 hours to be exact} I allowed them each to only ask one question per hour. In theory it seems genius!


The goal of this little experiment is this:


1. To encourage them to think for themselves

2. To encourage them to problem solve

3. To promote a sense of confidence in solving those problems

4. To encourage them to be thoughtful about what their needs really are.


To make this easier to manage we will have a chart. Like a star chart that they can check off when they ask their question for the hour. 

In part this will take a strong resolve on my part to recognize other attempts to question and put a stop to this. I struggle with the idea of implementing a consequence if they ask something but we will have to see how this little experiment goes. 

They are kids and so to be clear I don't think this is something that should occur more than for the purposes of training them. For us it will be just one day. {My kids are 5,7,9, & 11} As another way of clarification my kids know what is happening each day, we have as schedule. We also have a list of what we are having for dinner. They know the drill and if they forget - its even posted. I think that kids just do better when they know what's coming. And, they don't need to ask!

I will finish writing this post Monday evening after we have tried it.

Here's our chart to track.


The kids were a little apprehensive about this whole thing but I think there was a smidge of excitement {although they would never admit it}.

The first hour was smooth sailing. It was new and exciting....and we were out running errands.

Hour 2, it totally worked to my advantage. We were in a store and they were quiet. There was no, "mom, can we get this?" and "can I just borrow my allowance to buy a pack of gum, I'll pay you back when we get home". Ahhhhh! Peace!

Hour 3, What? Didn't you already ask me a question. We weren't home yet and I didn't have my chart. Who can keep track of this madness without a chart!

Hour 4. I set myself up well by announcing what we were having for lunch and when. Go outside!

Hour 5. I had to make a concession. If you are doing your summer workbook and you have a legitimate math question, ask and I will help. If you could have figured it out on  your own, you're toast!

Hour 6. Frustration sets in....on the kids part.

Hour 7. Creativity sets in. "Mom I'm going to have cookies for snack because I don't like the muffins you're offering." Oh no, no you're not!

Hour 8. We're in the home stretch! We're going to make it! Kids are getting fed up with this question business. Me, I've had a nice day! :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I expected that the kids would learn a great lesson. I didn't think that I would too!

I learned that I answer 57,000 daily questions because of my own laziness. It is easier to respond to a question than it is to take the time to train them properly or set them up to win. Ouch! They have to ask questions because I'm not engaged in what they are doing. I'm distracted by so many other things throughout the day. Good things, house work things, but things that take my focus off of them.

One child admitted he didn't learn anything. OK. I'm sure he did, he's just not going to admit it. He's also the same kids who asks 56,000 of the 57,000 questions.

My oldest said it made him think more creatively and to work at solving his own problems. Good.

I didn't have to implement any consequences. If they had already asked their question I would remind them of this. If I knew they weren't thinking about it I would say, "is this your question for the hour?"

I'm not sure what all they may have gained today, but I'm thankful for the insight I learned.


Thanks for stopping by!


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