Tag Archives: child training

gently molding habits

12 Jan


The kids worked hard yesterday afternoon.  They conquered their bedrooms and each received a full 5 points!

Remember the original goal? To change a habit by gently molding, encouraging, and having fun.  This doesn’t mean that the work was necessarily fun for them, but the outcome was worth the work.

The hardest part is over, now their desire for points will help to drive

 the desire to maintain.  Throughout the process, the self discipline naturally grows!


off to a great start!

10 Jan

Without mentioning anything to the children, I drew up the simple charts I referred to in yesterday’s post.  They walked in just as I was trimming off the extra paper.  Since they love crafty projects, they were immediately interested in whatever I might be doing.  I didn’t say much, just asked them for some fun paper stock to use as a back ground.  Within moments they were back with their favorite picks helping me tape the charts on the wall.

They weren’t sure what I was up to, but the excitement was building rapidly!  I hardly said a thing other than making sure the youngest could read  the few words on the chart.

Full of enthusiasm, they asked if they could start right away!

Day 1 : SUCCESS!

a contagious love for family

11 Oct

My daughter came home with an all too common description of an attitude about family life.  It wasn’t her view, rather it is one often heard at ones’ work place, waiting in the grocery line,  or talking with a friend.

“My kids are brats!”

“Unfortunately, I have to take care of my kid this weekend.”

“I can’t wait until they grow up and move out!”

Likely, if this is what is spoken of the children, what is said about the spouse is probably just as bad. This kind of comment comes near to guaranteeing an unhappy home!  They are a reflection of the parents bad attitudes and have life long affects on the children and marriage.  Word’s are powerful. They can be used to tear down or build up.Take time to reflect…

What do my words say to  those I love?

What have I said about my spouse to others?

What damage have I done to my family?

How can I begin to rebuild relationships?


As the sun rises with each day, we are each given a new beginning, a choice.

Like Anne of Green Gables  says, “today is a new day without any mistakes in it!”


 I choose to not only bear with each person’s  idiosyncrasies, but to take delight in them.

I will take time to whisper words of  appreciation into their ears.

I will let them know I believe in them and encourage them.

I will tell them of my unconditional love.

I will speak highly of them in the presence of others.

I will teach them to measure their own words…

How do they talk to each other?

How do they speak to us, as parents?

How do they portray their siblings to others?

How can they rebuild those fragile relationships they may have damaged?


We highly value family life.  

Whether in the work place, in the grocery line,

or talking with a friend may our words portray a contagious love for our family.

It is love…

23 Sep

 It is love…  that causes us, as parents, not only be patient and kind with our children,

but to teach them to be patient and speak kindly to each other.

It is love… that does not give way for prideful boasting,

rather looks to build each other up.

It is love…   that motivates  us to instruct the siblings to consider others first,

not demanding their own way.

It is love… that reminds us to humbly recognize our own personal failures

and helps our children see theirs,  seeking forgiveness from each other.

It is love…  that  not only bears,

but learns to appreciate each other’s idiosyncrasies.

It is love… that helps us to believe in and encourage each other

and endures through the difficult times.

True love never fails.

Set Priorities for your Family and Stick to Them!

18 Aug

Living in such a fast paced society, if we are not careful our families will be swept into the current and pulled places we may not want to go.

“Are we asking questions that help evaluate the priorities of our lives?”

– What is most important in our lives? Are we living in such a way to preserve or enhance how we spend our days?

-How does our family spend time together and is there any way it could be improved on? What is stealing away our time?

-What are the most important things we want to teach our children? Are we  prioritizing the time to teach them in an effective way?

-What could we change to better serve each other and others, as a family?


…just a few things to think about at the start of a new school year

– all without being told?

4 May

One of the benefits of spending a little time away is the fresh perspective gained upon arriving home.  The kids all looked happy and healthy, the yard was lush with new growth, and the house looked beautiful!  I love coming home!

As usual, the children had been conscientious  in achieving order before we arrived.  Yet, within minutes, the order began to dwindle.  A sweater draped over a chair, water glasses with the remains of muddy hands left in various places, tennis rackets, balls,  crayons, papers, shoes… Things were taken out, yet nothing put away.  Disorder emerged so quickly!

I suddenly realized how lackadaisical I had become in this area. Letting my expectations drop, little by little, poor habits settled in.

So, what are my expectations?

I expect –

– the children to put their things away when they are done.

– beds made in the morning and a tidy room in the evening.

– them to take responsibility completing their daily chores.

– a respectful answer when spoken to.

– all without being told [this is a high standard but worth working towards] :)

Should children be held accountable when these expectations are not met? Yes, if they are based on a prior mutual understanding and agreement! First, I need to ask myself, “What kind of an example am I setting? How am I following through?” As the children grow,  self-discipline will be required, so while still a child, it is my passion as a parent to prepare them well.  Instilling in them the joy of industriously pursuing excellence comes through working together, supporting, and challenging each other.  Trying, failing, and trying again.

Throughout a child’s life, what is expected of him will grow and change. A few key concepts to help this transition go as smoothly as possible are taken from a previous post: A Room Full of Life and Adventure.

1) Give the child a clear understanding of what is expected.

2) Walk through the process with him ahead of time. (practice, practice, practice)

3) Have a clear understanding with the child of appropriate, meaningful consequences.

4) Calmly follow through with the plan and be consistent!

Taking the risk of being an irritant, once again, I am pulling in the reigns.  The standard is being raised.  There is no need to repeat myself, or become a nag, I am determined to simply follow through and be consistent.

A Room Full of Life and Adventure

13 Apr

I really dislike loosing my temper! Walking in to the boy’s bedroom after a good thorough cleaning only to find it turned upside down again,  certainly tempts me to blow out a bit of steam!  Some kids delight in keeping their things in order, while others leave a continuous trail wherever they go.

Eventually we are going to talk about chores and responsibilities, but today I wanted to address a question I was recently asked: “What is appropriate punishment for a five year old with (poor) behavior?” I’ll use the backdrop of my own experience with messy bedrooms to give some suggestions.

First of all, it is important that children have a clear understanding of what is expected. In the case of their bedrooms, I began by simply helping them to regain order. We found workable areas to store their treasures when they were not in use.  The motto became: “Play, have fun, and then put away.”  I let them know the consequences of not maintaining their space.

Within a day, the room was turned upside down.  A complete disaster! Argh! I had two choices: I could loose my temper, yell, stomp my feet (tempted? YES!) or I could calmly follow through with the consequences we had set. I chose the second, letting them know they had lost a particular privilege. They would have to earn it back by following through with the original plan. When they did not follow through, I didn’t get upset. They simply lost another privilege.

Ages can vary so much, but I have found this especially helpful for the 3 -10 year old range.

In a nutshell:

1) Give the child a clear understanding of what is expected.

2) Walk through the process with him ahead of time. (practice, practice, practice)

3) Have a clear understanding with the child of appropriate, meaningful consequences.

4) Calmly follow through with the plan and be consistent!

After a few days of mounting privilege losses, my mold-able pair of boys proudly invited me to come look at their room. Wow! What an improvement! I praised them and showed off their room to others as an example to follow. They did not regain all of their lost privileges at once, each one had to be earned over time and consistency.

Is their bedroom perfectly neat?  Far from it! It’s a fun little boy’s room, full of life and adventure.  When it gets out of hand, I have a reliable system to fall back on.