Spending my Days with these Guys

Posted by  | Tuesday, May 11, 2010  at 6:26 AM  

Many thanks to Margaret for getting us back on track. I want to continue with the theme "Training our Children" by sharing some of the things I am trying to train our boys to do. Samuel is 3.5 and Joel is 2. Here are things we work on:

1. What do you do if you are lost. I ask my boys the following questions and provide the answers every day when we go on a walk. I have no idea why I started doing this. But then I figured it's good information for them to have stored away in their noggins in case of emergency.
-What is your mom's name? Your dad's name?
-Where do you live? (Samuel knows his street name and city name. Joel knows his city name)
-Where does your daddy work?
-What do you do if you get lost? (First look for a police officer. If you don't see one, look for another mommy and tell her you can't find your mommy.)

2. Put your shoes in the basket. My kids hate wearing shoes. So the first thing they do when they get in the house is peel off their shoes and socks. I trained them to put them in the basket by the back door after they take them off so I'm not tripping over shoes all day long.

3. Table Manners. Ugh. This is our weak point. It's not for lack of trying - just too much silliness between the boys at the table! My goals for table manners are to stay in your seat, you must eat at least one bite of something even if you don't think you like it, ask "may I be excused please?", clear your plate, put your cup back in the fridge and say "thank you for my dinner". They can do all of these, but not without a prompt first. My goal is to not prompt them. I don't know whether that will happen by kindergarten or by high school!

4. Speaking to adults. This works out in a variety of ways. First, I have my children call everyone by "Ms. Amy" or "Mr. Chad" (well, not all girls are Ms. Amy, but you get the idea!), unless they ask to be called something else. For example, my husband's name is Ed, and he LOATHES being called Mr. Ed. So he tells other children to call him Ed or Mr. Payne. We try to do the same for others. Anyways...this rule mostly applies to Samuel right now, but Joel is learning by example. I am training them to greet their adult teachers and say goodbye and thank you when they leave. This has helped Samuel to spontaneously go up and greet his AWANA teachers when he sees them in "big church".

5. Using the Library. This is kind of attached to #4, but that paragraph was getting long. I am training my boys to take advantage of the great resources at the library - the librarians! If Samuel asks me a question during the week (ex. Why is the moon big sometimes and small sometimes?) I tell him that's an interesting question and he should ask the librarian about that. The next time we go to the library, I have him go up to the desk and say "Excuse me, I'm interested in why the moon is big sometimes or small sometimes." Other things he's said are "I'm interested in where squirrels sleep", "I'm interested in what Maisauras eat", or "I'm interested in how to take care of animals." I always try to hang back and let him handle it himself. They are very patient at listening to him and then they walk him back into the Non-Fiction section and help him pick out 2 or 3 books about the subject. This is a great way to teach him how to interact politely with adults and learn something at the same time! (Plus it lets me off the hook for having no idea where squirrels sleep. Nests, by the way).

6. Parking Lots. Everytime I get the boys out of their carseats I say "okay, now we're in a parking lot. What do we do in a parking lot?" And they respond "Hold hands". When I set one of them out of the van, I say "Hold hands or hands on the van." That way the one will keep their hand on the van while I lift the other one out. This is especially helpful when I have to unload 3 kids.

7. First Time Obedience. I teach my children to obey me the first time. That means no warnings, no counting to three, no repeating myself a million times. This is part training them and part training me. I need to learn to follow through with consequences when they don't obey right away. I ask a million times a day "When do we obey?" and they know to answer "the first time". Here is a typical scenario: Samuel is playing with Joel and takes something from him. I say "Samuel, come here." If he comes to me I say "thank you for obeying the first time." (and then I deal with the other issue.) If he doesn't come the first time, I go over to him and say "when do we obey?" and he says "the first time" and I say "now you need to sit in time out for not obeying the first time." Then I deal with the obeying the first time thing and the taking toys thing. Since we're in the beginning stages of working on this, I try to really praise the heck out of them for obeying the first time. Samuel (in typical first-born style) has taken to pointing out to me each time he obeys the first time ("look, mommy, I obeyed the first time. Are you happy with me?")

I know this may seem like a weird, random list of things we do in our house, but that's probably more of a reflection of the weird house we live in! I just wanted to give you a flavor for some of the things we work on day-to-day around here. Let me know if you have questions.


Kari said...

I think I could listen to Samuel talk all day. He cracks me up. I'm not sure where putting olives on your toes fits into all this, but then again, I'm just learning. Or getting ready to learn I should say. Your cute/silly/adorable boys always make me smile. Can't wait until your next visit!

Courtney said...

I have a couple questions. When did you start time out and how did you go about it? (Pretty sure I should have started by now with my 21 month old, but things have been crazy with having another baby so close- I also have a 7 month old, yup they are 14 months apart)
My other question is something that I feel like I read on here a while back, but I'm not sure. It was about training and using flicking for some things and popping and spanking for others. Is there a book you go this from, whoever did it? If I am totally off, sorry I have serious baby brain :)

MMS said...

Great post, Leah! We, too, are working on manners. What is with boys and silliness? :) Anyway, I'm still chuckling at "Mr Ed." Hehe!

Meg said...

Thanks, Leah! Great suggestions! I love the library one and having them repeat that they should obey the first time. We are working with Karis on not being shy and clamming up when adults talk to her :)

Karla said...

What a great post and what great ideas. I love what you've taught them as far as getting lost. Caleb knows his address, tel # and who to call(911)if there is an emergency. I love your idea about the library, that does help them be more independent and ask questions themselves.

With the shoes: I have the boys take there shoes off and put them in there closet right away.

Table manners: is a working progress in our house as well. There is a lot of talking and not to much eating. Caleb also knows to ask to be excused and pick up his area and cleaning any crumbs left on the table on his mat. He also knows to scrape his plate of if it has crumbs in the trash and also to put his plate in the sink.

When speaking to adults: he also addresses them mr./mrs and yes/no mam or yes/no sir.
If they need something, I have them put there hand on my arm and he knows I will address him when I get a pause, at the same time I grab his hand to let him know I will be with him shortly. (great book to read don't make me count to three and heaven at home by ginger plowman)

1st time obedience: is also a working progress in our house and just like you a constant reminder of when he is expected to obey. First time, right away, all the way, with a happy heart. I also tell him that he needs to do it joyfully as unto the Lord and for him to do what is right and pleasing to the Lord.

Parking lot: since I have 3 now, I grab a buggy, then I let Caleb out and have him wait next to the van as I get Matthew out and put him on the stroller that Caleb helps me push (that entertains him) and I put the baby seat in the buggy. As we cross to go in the store he walks on the inside next to me.

I have also posted on our family blog : www.coxtalesandmore.blogspot.com things I have done, since Caleb was almost 2yrs old. and a picture of it. It has been a working progress and lots of patience. But worth it all.

Galatians 6:9 says: Let us not loose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Sorry for the long post, I just thought I'd share.

KC said...

What age do you think it is reasonable to expect first time obedience? My son is 18 months and sometimes I am pretty sure he understood me the first time, but sometimes I am not sure.

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