It’s so frustrating when you ask your kid to complete a task and they refuse. It could be picking up their room, getting ready for school or doing chores—sometimes you feel like a broken record asking continuously to no avail.

But your kid might be stalling because the task at hand feels difficult to them, so much so that they don’t realize the repercussions of what would happen if they choose not to do it. That’s where you come in. 

Big Life Journal shared a post on Instagram that’s all about changing kids’ mindsets when it comes to challenging tasks, and it’s called “choose your hard.” This tip points out that you understand what you’re asking them to do is hard; however, the natural consequence of not doing it is hard, too.

The post gives some examples of what this could look like:

When your child doesn’t want to practice an instrument:

“It’s hard to practice every day. And it’s also hard when you don’t improve. Choose your hard.”

When your child refuses to pack their backpack:

“It’s hard to pack your backpack for tomorrow. But it’s also hard to rush in the morning. Choose your hard.”

When your child wants to stay up late reading:

“It’s hard to stop reading an interesting book. But it’s also hard to wake up tired for school the next day. Choose your hard.”

“This phrase will help your child understand that when they choose NOT to do hard things, it usually comes with a natural consequence (that’s also hard),” the post explains. 

That mindset shift is also a helpful reminder for adults. How many times have you not wanted to do something because it felt too challenging at the moment, but decided to do it anyway because you knew the natural consequence of not doing it would be worse? This was (probably) an internal dialogue, but for children to understand a concept like this it needs to be verbalized.“The next time your child is tempted not to do something because it feels hard… remind them of this concept and help them choose wisely,” the post says. Of course, your kid will not always choose wisely, so be prepared for the aftermath of that! But the beauty of developing tools like this is that they’ll see and feel the repercussions of their choices and will learn to make better choices in the future—choices that they made rather than choices being made for them.