Self-Controlled Children


spring-summer 2012 163

We went to a restaurant last week and I was pleasantly surprised at some comments our family received.  I am somewhat of a control freak and going to restaurants, the store, political functions with 5 little ones 7 and under is quite frightening to me!  I don’t know why I get so nervous, our kids are well behaved 98% of the time.  We have those normal nap-time meltdowns with the toddlers, but for the most part they are self-controlled.

We get the usual looks (and sometimes smiles) that a couple with a herd of little ones get.  The kids sat down politely and were very patient even though we had to wait quite a while.  Even our wild and crazy guy, 23 month old Eli, was content sitting next to mommy.  As people left, they came by our table and made comments like, “You have such a beautiful family” and “Your children are so well behaved”  Don was even cornered in the bathroom by a gentleman who was also impressed.  What got me thinking is when a man and his wife came over (while Don was in the bathroom with the 5 yr old) and said  ”Your kids are so good, What is your secret?”  I stumbled around and jokingly quoted the Bible…”Spare the rod and spoil the child.”  He obviously didn’t understand what I was getting at.  I was trying to turn the conversation over to talking about God.  So I then said, “No, I’m just joking… God has really blessed, we have great kids.”  After they left, I told Don what happened and we talked about what we should say in the event this happened again.  The Bible tells us to always be ready to give an answer.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

We talked more about it and our short-answer next time will be “The Bible and Homeschooling”  That pretty much sums it up.  But how we get them to behave that way takes a little more explaining!

Controlled Sit Time   Our kids have lots of time to practice controlled sitting!

  1. Church (3 hours a week) they have busy work (notepad and pen) But they have to sit, whisper, and be still.  We haven’t quite worked this out with Eli yet!  It always helps to have an extra set of hands with a toddler, but my extra set of hands is preaching!  Busy books are good too.  I made one a few years ago and found it in a drawer the other day. I guess I should carry it to church! ha ha!  It has simple activities like…counting, shoe tying, buttoning, stuff the hankie in the pocket, pet the bunny, zipper fun & things like that.
  2. Family Bible Time (every night)  Daddy leads family Bible time every night.  The Baby sits on momma’s knee or nurses.  Everyone is required to sit up, no flopping down or laying.  This is good “practice Church” time, and is best used when you model church behaviors that are expected.
  3. Meal Time at the Family Table (3 meals a day, unless we eat out) When you practice manners at the family table at home, restaurant mishaps are minimised!
  4. Cool-It Time (whenever necessary)  Cool-it is a precursor to Time out.  We use “Cool-it”  when we see a kid is about to get out of control or it getting a little wild.  The child is required to sit (wherever we say) or freeze (wherever we are) and be quiet and still.  After some time passes and they exhibit self-control, they are allowed to play.  Cool-it is not a punishment, it is used to prevent a punishment!  Use it often in a game like format to insure that it dosen’t feel like a punishment.  Ever heard of the Quiet Mouse Game?
  5. Simple Inside/Outside Rules  Kids behave best when they know what is expected of them.  We have rules for behaving inside a building…no running or skipping, no yelling (Quiet voice) We have rules for the car…no yelling, do not get out untill told, stand by mom or dad when you get out, buckle you and your buddy, etc.  We have a different set of rules for outside (i.e. Parking lots are different than your backyard!) We laughingly joke about Lee when he was little, as soon as he made it outside he would yell “I CAN YELL OUTSIDE!”

Well, that’s what we do!  Rules and manners don’t mean a thing unless they are practiced often and sometimes corrected.  Remember perfect kids only come from perfect adults and we are sure messed up!  Thanks be to God our Saviour, who was perfect, and died on the cross of Calvary for my sins!  Without his righteousness, we are but filthy rags!



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