“She Was Just Bored!” Ensign, Feb. 1979, 63
When my daughter turned three, she began to develop some unpleasant traits.
She chewed her fingernails, begged for food constantly, and pestered her little sister until I found myself refereeing, and therefore ruining their relationship. She wanted roller skates like her five-year-old neighbor, nail polish like her older sister, and unlimited cartoon watching on T.V.
She was obviously bored, so I decided to give her some responsibilities to help her earn her roller skates. On a chart I pasted pictures cut from a catalog to represent the jobs she could do, and I “paid” her with fancy stickers to paste by the pictures.
The “musts” included making her bed (no breakfast until the beds were made) and cleaning her room (no bedtime story unless the room was clean); but other jobs I merely helped with. She could scour the bathtub, empty the wastebaskets, put the silverware away, set the table, dust the living room and bedrooms with me, vacuum the rugs in her room.
Some jobs were done well, and some not so well; but usually she was anxious to do them, and she labored for six weeks to earn her skates. Soon she was proudly skating and crawling and bumping up and down the sidewalk. The boredom was gone, she was no longer biting her nails, and she and her little sister were getting along well again.
While working with the Young Women, I had noted that many youth behavior problems seemed to be the result of too little responsibility and nothing difficult to do. It seems this is true of young children also. Janet Hessell Ewell, Huntington Beach, California