Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don't kick the pink elephant!

What image do you have in your mind right now? Someone kicking a pink elephant perhaps? I don't remember where I read about this phrase but it relates to our children's behavior and it is something that I'm always trying to stay focused on.

The whole idea is we, as parents, tend to spend too much time telling our kids what not to do. When we tell our kids "don't kick the pink elephant" that actually puts that idea into their heads and all they want to do now is kick the pink elephant. I've actually witnessed this first hand when I was in a bathroom stall with Owen awhile back. No sooner did the words "Don't touch the trash can" leave my mouth that Owen's hands reached for the trash can. Instead of telling Owen what he shouldn't do, it would have been better for me to tell him what he could do. For example, "Owen, put your hands in your pockets until Mommy is done". This way what I'm telling him what to do are the ideas going into his head not the ideas of what I don't want him to do.

This ties into focusing on the positive of their behavior and not focusing on the behavior we don't want, which is my goal for this month. I'm going to try to focus on telling my kids the behavior I want to see, not to focus on the bad behavior I may be seeing. This doesn't mean that I dismiss the bad behavior, but by choosing my words wisely, I can still tell my children what they did was wrong by telling them what they should do that is right.

The other part of all of this that I'm working on this month is teaching the moral reason why to Owen. (It is said that under of age 3 you need to be directive in your instructions/commands and that you start moral reason why once your child reaches 3 and older). Without teaching moral reason why, it prevents your child from truly apply what he is learning to different scenarios.

What are some of your goals for the month?

Monday, December 28, 2009

What are YOU wanting to work on with your kids?

Post a comment on things you would like to be working on with your kids -- perhaps we have some of the same things and I'd be happy to post ideas I have and you could share your ideas too!

Here is a list of some of the things I'd like to work on but haven't gotten around to yet in our training time...
* kids staying by the shopping cart when shopping
* stop the "but why mom" after giving instructions
* drama of saying don't want something and then two seconds later crying because they want it now
* siblings getting along together
* how to deal with lying
* showing respect to their things, especially toys

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but are some of the areas I plan to work on with my kids during non-conflict training. I will update the blog on this as we get there with my ideas and please feel free to share your ideas too!

Don't forget to let me know some of the areas you are wanting to work on so maybe we can work on them together!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Name Change

I've been struggling with the name of my blog and kinda settled with training moments, however after watching again GKGW session one, I came up with the new name of my blog...Moral Training! Please update any bookmarks you may have to my new blog address at


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Be Consistent!

It has been said that it takes around 28 days to form a new habit so why do we expect our kids on our first try of doing something new that they will get it and do it?

For example, the first couple times my daughter had room time, she thought she was being sent to her room for time out and it took a bit of time for her to know that room time is different than being sent to her room to sit on her bed for time out. But if I would have given up after the first, second or even third time of her protesting of not wanting to be in her room then we wouldn't be enjoying room time today. Same thing with eating vegetables, new foods or anything new - some kids do take longer than others to adapt to changes. But as moms (and dads) it's important to allow your kids time to adapt. Be consistent with your new tools and routines and give it at least a week or two to evaluate how things are going before changing things.

Another aspect of being consistent not only comes with your training times and routines but also being consistent throughout the day regarding the things you are trying to teach your children regarding moral excellence. If you are training your children in the importance of obedience take opportunities throughout the day to talk about things you see, hear, and do that show or do not show obedience.

One great place to do this is when you have worship time with your kids. We just read the story this morning about Balaam and how he asked God what he should do and God told him not to go with the messengers. But did Balaam obey God right away? NO - he asked God again what he should do and then still took the money and went with the messengers. We talked about the importance of obeying God right away just like they are to obey mommy and daddy right away.

It's also important to make sure the TV/DVD shows you have your kids watch agree with the moral excellence you are training them in. I love hearing Owen talk about a show and saying how good a character was and how they obeyed right away. It really helps all the training and principals sink in.

Be consistent...don't expect your children to change over night. It takes time and practice and well, being consistent!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Room Time

Have you considered implementing room time into your daily schedule for your kids? For younger toddlers/babies you could use their play pen or crib as their room time and for older toddlers/preschoolers you could use their rooms for time for them to play by themselves.

I was having some trouble getting my daughter to stay in her room for room time, until yesterday when I actually pulled out and set up some toys for her to play with. Even after her timer went off she choose to stay in her room to continue playing.

The other thing that has been helpful, which I shared with you yesterday, was putting painters tape on the floor right outside each of the kid's room so they knew they weren't to cross the line while it was room time. My son typically does great playing by himself in his room, but yesterday just hung right by the line for pretty much the entire 30 minutes.

Here are some ideas to make room time fun for you and your kids:
* First, make a big deal about how much fun it will be to play in their rooms until the time goes off. Stay up beat and excited and most likely your excitement will be shared with your children.

* Use a timer and place one in each of the kids room so they can see how much time is left. My son knows that he needs to stay in his room until it gets to zero.

* You can use room time as structured play time where you actually give your child toys to play with or you can just tell them to play in their rooms. I found that for toddlers and younger, it is best to give them some toys to play with and set things up for them ahead of time.

* If you are just starting out room time, start with just 10 minutes and then steadily increase your timer each day. And yes, the more you have room time for your kids, the more they'll expect it and understand that is just part of the day.

* To help you kids understand they are not to come out of their room, put some tape on the floor so they know where they are not able to cross over. For younger toddlers you may have to put up a baby gate to keep them in their room. And babies should be placed in a play pen or crib for their room time.

There are many benefits to room time - mainly it gives your children an opportunity to entertain themselves and not always needing someone to be with them. Also, it gives you a break and are able to do some things around the house. And for me yesterday, when the kids where getting at each other - I just sent them to their rooms for room it gave both kids a chance to unwind.

Let me know some of your ideas and practices for room time in your home!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Give me a sign

Have you ever considered teaching your speaking/hearing children American Sign Language (ASL)? There are some great benefits for both you and your children if you take some time to teach them some basic signs.

I started signing with my son when he was 4 months old. By 9 months he knew at least 10 different signs: eat, milk, more, please, thank you, cheese, cracker, sorry, potty, cookie...I really liked the Signing Time's DVD series -- they really helped me learn signs quickly. And when my kids started watching DVDs these were and still are some of their favorite ones to watch. Right now, my 2 yr daughter always wants to watch the "Baby Signing Times" series. Check out this link for more information:

One big benefit of teaching babies and toddlers to sign is reduced temper tantrums. Most temper tantrums are caused because your little one is trying to communicate his thoughts and needs to you but doesn't have the words to express himself yet. By teaching him to sign, you are able to help him communicate better.

Another benefit, especially as the children get older, is to reduce embarrassment in public settings. Instead of asking your child if he needs to go potty, you could just sign "potty". I know I've used this one several times at a store - my husband is at the end of an isle and instead of shouting down to him "we're going potty", I'll just say "Mark" and then sign "potty" so he knows where we are going. Or if your child is getting out of control, you could just sign "sit down" to get them to calm down.

Yet another benefit is to help cue your children in things they should be saying. You can gently and quietly remind your child to say "thank you" to a complement or gift by just signing "thank you" to them instead of verbally saying -- "make sure to say thank you"...I have found that one thing I'm working on, especially with Owen, is getting his eye contact when I'm talking to him or after I've called his name and he has come to me. I have found that by including some signs (like stop, quiet, sit down, yes mommy) I get his eye contact since he has to see what I'm saying.

You could also make up your own signs/cues for your family. For example, I'm working on getting my kids to respond "yes, mommy" to all my instructions/commands and instead of me always saying "yes, mommy" I just tug on my ear to remind them they need to say "yes, mommy". Also, I've showed my kids "quiet hands" (my hands folded) to get them to fold their hands and to be quiet. This has come in handy (no pun intended) especially in a quiet setting where it is more respectful for me to just show the kids vs telling them what they need to be doing...but of course, during your training time you will need to teach your children what you are expecting from them with each of the signs you are teaching them...

Another visual "sign" my husband came up with the other day was to put a piece of painters tape on the floor in front of each of the kid's doors. We had some wandering issues when the kids were suppose to be in their room's playing so he put a visual sign of the tape on the floor so the kids knew where they were suppose to stay and how they were not to cross the line until room time was over (unless of course there was a need to use the bathroom...)

There are several websites that will teach you ASL and I hope you come up with some signs to use in your home too - whether they be ASL or signs you make up as a family. What is your favorite sign to use at home?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let your light shine...

My husband and I have decided to go through the GKGW program again now that we have access to the DVDs. The first time we went through we listened to them on CDs and found great benefits to the presentations - but like the Ezzo's say in the introduction you tend to listen only to the age/problems you are facing at the we figured it was time for a refresher.

We watched the introduction the other night and I really liked the verse they shared behind the whole purpose and reason for training our children in moral excellence. I decided to make this a new page in my scrapbook to discuss it with my kids during our training time.

The verse is Jesus talking in the Sermon on the Mount -- He says "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds (good behavior) and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 amplified)

I wanted my kids to realize it wasn't just mommy who wanted them to have good behavior and moral excellence, but that Jesus tells us in the Bible that we are to have good behavior and moral excellence so we can be an example of who Jesus is. We discussed characteristics of Jesus and we talked about how we are to have the same characteristics so other people around us will see Jesus in our hearts.

I think this is important to teach our kids that the Bible is our guidance in how we are to live our lives and mommy and daddy are here to help them until they are able to make their own choices. Both kids this morning really liked talking about who Jesus is and the characteristics He has and doesn't have and how we are to be a light shining to those around us!

Sorry the picture of my scrapbook page is sideways -- I'm still learning how to use the blog site and not sure how to turn the photo the right direction! ;-)

How have you been teaching your children about being a "light" to the world?! Remember, too moms and dads -- one of my favorite sayings from Chip Ingram's presentation Effective Parenting in a Defective World "more is caught than taught"...think about it -- we can spend all this time and effort teaching our children moral excellence but if we ourselves can not demonstrate and live the things we are teaching our children, then our efforts will be less effective! We too must be a light that shines to the world -- and our world includes our children!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anna, stop

I witnessed a great benefit to our training time today! We were leaving the church and Anna started to run outside towards the parking lot. There were no cars coming but I didn't like the idea of her just taking off and I knew that we had been practicing our "stop / sit down" game during training time so I called out "Anna, stop". And she did! She didn't move another foot! I was so impressed to see how our fun training times carrying through to practical application. Which reminded me that it is a good idea to still practice our training tools outside of the home as well! Like today, Anna was in no immediate danger of running out into the parking lot since there were no cars, but by calling "Anna, stop" reinforces obedience and the tools practiced at home.

I also witness the need to continue with our training especially the area with self control. We had craft time at the church today and Owen was just running around and singing loudly and just well, being a boy! I actually had to have him sit out in the hallway (our door was open and I could still see/hear him) until he had self control. I gave him a few opportunities to rejoin the group but he continued to demonstrate lack of self control so he remained out in the hall for the rest of the hour we were doing our crafts. Remembering that isolation is not correction, when we came home I told him that during nap time today he would have to be lay quiet in his bed vs reading his books like he typically does during quiet time and also that he would not be allowed to watch his Christmas Special after dinner tonight. He actually took a nap today and was a better adjusted kid afterwards -- which we moms need to remember that tired kids tend to be out of control kids...

Have a great weekend everyone! Next week I'll share some new pages I'm working on "Liar, Liar" and "Light of the World"...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Morning Training...another idea on "touch the car"

We just finished our morning training time and we all had a great time! I thought of another fun idea to teach the kids the "touch the car" idea from the Toddler Transition DVDs. This morning I set up a few things around the living room - our stools, their "lily pads", the baby stroller and some stuffed animals. I would call out "touch the green stool" and they would say "yes mommy" and go over and touch the green stool until I told them either to come to mommy or to go touch the another item. Owen really loved this and actually asked to play it again so we ended up doing it twice this morning.

Also, this morning I started out with our worship story. Currently we are going through the Read
'n' See DVD Bible. It's a great book since you read the story to the kids - which are short and have lots of illustrations and then we watch the story we just read on the DVD disk that comes with the book. This morning I used the DVD time for our quiet and still time. Both kids sat on their 'lily pads' with their hands folded as they watched the short DVD video. They both did of the next steps I'd like to accomplish is that even if mommy isn't in the room, they stay on their 'lily pads' with their hands folded.

We did cover some other training ideas from my scrapbook this morning and we always end our training time with prayer. It still amazes me how much fun we have during training and how especially Owen looks forward to having training every morning! Hope you are having fun at your house too! Please leave some comments to let me know how things are going!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Touch the car...

So an idea shared on the Toddler Transition DVDs was teaching your kids when they get out of the car to touch the side of the car so you don't have to worry (as much) about them wandering around the car/parking lot. It's always a great idea to do any training at home first so when you actually apply it when you are out your kids will have a better understanding of what your expectations are.

Here are some ideas on how to "train" for this at home:
* Actually take your kids out to your car and practice getting in and out of the car and as soon as the kid/kids get out of the car how they are to immediately touch the car.

* Practice at home and set up some dining room chairs as your pretend car and show the kids where they are to touch on the chair. Get in and out of your pretend car and have the kids touch the "car" until you tell them it's okay to take their hand off the car.

* Another application shared in the videos was how you can also teach your kids to touch the shopping cart if for some reason they are starting to wander away from you, you can instruct them to "touch the cart" -- but again, this needs to be practiced at home. A great way to train for this is to use one of your kids toy shopping carts and walk around the house with the kids like you were at the grocery store. Every so often call out "touch the cart".

* You can also use this to have your kids "touch your leg" if you are walking/standing someplace and you need them right near you (maybe an elevator or escalator perhaps?). Having a place where your kids can focus on keeping their hands will prevent their hands from being other places and potentially causing problems.

Wanna make it even more fun for your kids when you are wanting them to touch the car until you are ready to walk across the parking lot -- get your kids favorite character sticker or magnetic cling (We have a Fighting Irish magnetic cling on our car) and place that on the side of the car where your kids can focus on where they are to be touching the car until you are ready.

This is a great lesson in first time obedience for health and safety!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

and not so proud moments...

We just got back from ToysRus so I could score my great deal on the TAG reading system (it was on sale for $34 vs $50 and I had a $10 off manufacturer coupon plus a $5 ToysRus coupon = $20!!!) Anyway, both kids did pretty good as we were going through the store and staying with me but at checkout things all went out of control! I need to remember my tools I have taught my kids and so when we are out and about I can tell them what they need to do knowing that we have practiced them. One thing Owen is doing when I tell him to hold his hands is he'll lay on the floor of the store. Not as a tantrum, but more just laying down and folding his hands...which i really don't want him doing since he becomes a road block to people around us...anyway, I know I don't have 90% compliance and with anything PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! ;-)

Proud moments...

I have to say I'm so impressed with the results of our training I've mentioned previously I just started having training time with my kids about 2 weeks ago and already I'm seeing much improvement!

For example, on Sunday we went to McDonald's so the kids could run around and play in the play area. There were some other kids there too and everyone was having a great time. Of course, kids being kids, it started to get louder and louder and things got carried away a bit. It was so nice to be able to say "Owen" (just one time!) and hear him say "yes, mommy, I'm coming" and he did come right away! He walked away from playing with his new friends to came right to me. We aren't any where near the 90% compliance recommended in the Mom's Notes, but it is so nice to see that my time and effort with the training is coming through in my children's behavior. Actually, I'm curious to see where we are at...sounds like another experiment! ;-)

Of course afterwards at Walmart during the checkout things got a little out of control and I was having a difficult time getting the kids to listen -- but our primary focus in our household right now is coming right away. I did learn a new training tool that I think will help in situations like this...I'll teach it to you tomorrow!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Okay / Alright

So I did a little experiment today...I counted how many times I said "okay" or "alright" to my kids. In my defense I've been saying "okay" or "alright" to get affirmation from my kids - so I knew that they heard what I was saying or telling them to do. (Another reason training for the "yes, mom" response is so important!!!) What I wasn't realizing is that by saying "okay" or "alright" after my instruction sounded to my kids as a request, not a command. By saying "okay" or "alright" gave them the option to obey and it also comes across as me asking my kids for permission (Thanks GKGW's Toddler Transition presentation). "Mommy is going to go type on the computer upstairs, okay?" "Time to pick up your toys, alright?" "Time to go to bed, okay?" In each of these examples, your child has an option to say no to it verses if you just "say what you mean to say" you will truly be instructing your child and not asking for their permission...who's the one in authority, anyway?! And just so you know -- I said okay at least 8 times and alright 5 times...I'm realizing that a lot of child training has to do with mom training too! ;-)

Our Morning Training

I just wanted to share with you how our morning training session went today...Owen had ants in his pants so we had to practice quite a few times sitting quiet and still and showing mommy his "quiet hands" in order to get through the training I wanted to cover with them.

For this morning's training we covered what obedience is and what it means to obey and how the Bible tells us we need to obey our parents. We talked about what it meant to obey right away, all the way and with a happy heart. Owen told me right away means to say "yes, mommy". All the way means to come and touch mommy's leg or arm (he did get a bit carried away and offered the idea of also being able to touch mommy's eyes or nose as well...). And he showed me what a happy heart looks like. We then practiced our quiet play on our "lily pads". Both kids sat and played quietly for 10 minutes. Anna did much better than Owen did this morning on this. Owen had to practice his quiet hands afterwards since he didn't do a good job practicing being quiet on his lily pad.

We played a new game today I came up with called "Yes, Mommy". It is based on the idea of "Mother May I" but instead of the kids saying "Mother May I?" I call one of their names, they say "Yes, Mommy" then I give them an instruction (like touch your toes) and they need to say "Yes, Mommy". This is good training to practice since you want your children to say "yes, mommy" after you call their name or give them instructions so you know they heard you. Also, by them saying "yes, mommy" it makes them have ownership to the instructions given. The kids did pretty good with this game for being the first day playing.

Owen was more interesting in practicing "right away" which we did next. The kids took off to the kitchen and waited for me to call their names. Then they would say "yes mommy, I'm coming" and come to where I am at, touch my leg and show me their happy faces. We did this about 5 times for each kid.

Our last training we did has to do with obedience regarding health and safety. I want to be able to say stop or sit to my child and they do it right away. So we practice it. I have the kids walk around the coffee table and wait to listen to me say "Stop". I'm working with them to also say "yes, mommy" as they are stopping -- we still have some work to do with this. Then I will tell them "Sit down". We go back and forth between stop and sit down. Then I'll just call one kids name and tell them to stop or sit down. Both kids really love playing this!

When I set up the premise of the game to Owen and Anna I shared with them how mommy and daddy have to obey rules too. One rule we have to obey is stop signs when we drive so we stay safe. If mommy decided not to stop at the sign like she is told, mommy could end up crashing her car. And that is very dangerous. So just like it is important for mommy to obey when she is told to stop - Owen and Anna must obey too when they are told to stop. We just played it yesterday for the first time and then today I didn't go through the explanation with the kids. As we were starting to play Owen tells me "wait, wait mom. Just like you have to stop at the signs we have to stop too" and he proceeded to explain to me what I told them yesterday about the importance of stopping when told.

I have really been amazed at how much the kids take in and learn, especially during the non-conflict training times we have!

One person asked how I have time to update a blog with everything else that goes on during the day -- that's one of the benefits of having a scheduled day and times for your kids to have room time. Right now they are in their rooms playing, which frees me to do somethings I'd like to be updating this blog!


Yes, there is a lot of parenting advice out there and a lot of things you may be wanting to change about your kids. One suggestion given in the Mom's Notes by Joey and Carla Link was to focus only on a few things at a time. So this is what you can do...pick the top 3 or 4 things that drive you nuts about your kids behavior and focus just on correcting those things. One thing to note though - if you don't have first time obedience (when you call your child's name they come to your right away) then it will be more difficult to change other behavior in your child. You really should work on first time obedience if you do not have that with your kids.

So once you have your 3 or 4 things, come up with consequences for these 3 or 4 things. Then write it down next to what you are trying to correct in your child. Finally, make sure you also write down your child's love language and met their love language need once a day - remember a lot of undesirable behavior is a result of your child's love language not being met and they are acting out to get your attention.

Here is an example of what we are working on in our home. I'm learning as I go here and may make some adjustments to what I want to be focusing on. But here is an example to help you out:

Owen (almost 4 yrs old)
* First Time Obedience -- chastisement for not coming right away when mommy/daddy calls him (Remember you should never chastise unless you know for sure your child understands what is required of them and that they are choosing to be defiant. Another important reason to have training time so you know that your child does in fact understand what is required of them).
* Respect to Mommy & Daddy -- time out (isolation/quiet and still) in room until ready to talk to Mommy & Daddy respectfully and we are working towards restoration, forgiveness and repentance.
* No whining, debating or complaining --
time out (isolation/quiet and still) in room until ready to stop whining, debating or complaining and we are working towards restoration, forgiveness and repentance.
* Being kind to Anna -- loses privilege of playing with Anna and needs to play in his room for 30 minutes by himself.

Anna (2 yrs old)
* First Time Obedience --
chastisement for not coming right away when mommy/daddy calls him (Remember you should never chastise unless you know for sure your child understands what is required of them and that they are choosing to be defiant. Another important reason to have training time so you know that your child does in fact understand what is required of them).
* No screaming -- time out (quiet and still) on bed for 10 minutes
* No throwing fits --
time out (quiet and still) on bed for 10 minutes

I have no hitting for Anna's other thing but realize she really isn't hitting. We just finished watching the GKGW Toddler Transition and I have some new things I want to work on with Anna so I'll be revising her list.

The nice thing about writing this all down is that you can post it on your fridge and have quick reference to what you are working on and help you stay consistent with the consequences. It also helps so your spouse know what you are working on and what the consequences are -- this way you can remain a team.

Quite Time or Quiet Time?

Yes, like I mentioned before, I'm a numbers person and not a words person...a friend asked if I meant to be writing quiet time - which I was. It's not a new term "quite" time. Sorry about that! (I did go back and edit the rest of the blog to be correct...) Also, I do find my "mommy brain" at work sometimes and things I for sure typed ended up being totally different words that make no sense at all and I don't even know how they got on the page to begin with! I really sometimes wonder what having kids did to me!

I also want to take this time to just share that I by no means think I have perfect kids or that I have the perfect answer. I don't have perfect kids and that's why I had to try a new approach on the way I was handling disobedience and other undesirable behavior in and out of our home. I have just been so amazed by just the small change of having "training time" in our day has really helped everyone out! The kids are learning and practicing what I'm expecting of them and of their behavior. And with the practice time I am seeing during the day how my kids will stop and think about what we were practicing and they actually implement their new knowledge throughout the day on the way they are handling their emotions and listening to mommy and daddy.

My hopes for this blog is to start a community of readers where we are sharing with each other our ideas and struggles we face in training our children. When I went through the GKGW program and they talked about teaching in non-conflict moments it sounded great but I just wasn't sure how to really implement it. How do I teach how to obey mommy in times of non-conflict? How do I teach what being kind is? How do I teach what being best friends with your sibling mean? So I just had to start coming up with ideas and so far things have been coming together nicely. I just wanted to share with anyone interested some of the ideas I came up or have read about so you don't have to come up with your own ideas. But if you do have your own ideas please, please share them with us! I'd love to hear from you too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quiet Time

Have you ever tried to have a phone call only for your kids to get super extra loud that you no longer can talk on the phone anymore? Have you been at the doctors office needing to talk to the doctor all the while your children are running around the office? Have you been out to a restaurant and the kids are finished their meals but you are only half way through yours? Won't it be great if you had a mute button on your child that you could push in these moments? Well you do! You just have to do some training!!!

Here are some ideas that we have used at home to practice "Quiet Time":
* First we talk about what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 -- mainly just this part "For everything there is a season...a time to be quiet and a time to speak..."

* I came up with this great idea today when I was creating my scrapbook page for "Quiet Time". I came across some stickers of a frog on a lily pad and another frog not on a lily pad. We have some circled mats that the kids love to play with and so today I called them their lily pads. We talked about how the one frog was sitting nice and quiet on his lily pad playing with his toys while the other frog wasn't sitting on his lily pad and wasn't showing mommy frog quiet time. So to practice, I gave each kid their "lily pad" and a small plastic basket of quiet toys (SuperTarget has some great things in their dollar section near the front of the store!). I set the timer for 5 minutes and the kids were to sit on their lily pads while showing mommy how they could sit there quietly playing with their toys. They did a great job! As we continue with our training, I'll increase the time so the kids will be use to sitting and playing quiet with their toys in those times mommy needs them to be quiet. This is the same idea as "blanket time" that GKGW shares.

* Another training opportunity actually comes at dinner time when the family is eating dinner together. Typically the kids have finished before mommy and daddy and ask to be excused. Instead of excusing them, it would be wise to train them to sit and play quietly at the table until everyone is finished (remember eating out a restaurants and then start to panic since you haven't finished your meal and now your child wants to run around the restaurant?!) Train first at home and your meals out will be more enjoyable! For our training, I have set up a couple of totes filled with quiet toys the kids can bring with them to the dinner table after they are finished with their meals. I do have them clear their dishes first so the toys don't get messy. (You can also do the same thing for couch time -- have some special quiet toys just for couch time that your kids will play with -- again teaching the concept of quiet time!)

* The other "Quiet Time" training we do is "Quiet and Still" where during the day if the children need to be sent to their room because of bad behavior, I want them to sit there quiet and still untill they are ready to behave (which we also are working towards time for reflection of "Repentance, Forgiveness, and Restoration" can't reflect if you haven't been trained to sit quiet and still). For our training time I have stools the kids sit on and they are to fold their hands and sit quiet and still for a set amount of time. We started our training at 1 minute, then have worked our way up to 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. I have to say, when I first heard of a friend doing this it sounded horrible to make your kids sit there for a set amount of time. But I have to say, my kids LOVE all the training sessions and there is no struggle to comply to our training sessions, including sitting quiet and still. Even my 2 year old sits quiet and still folding her hands! Again, this is why it is important for you to go through the GKGW program so you can understand the theory and principals behind why it is important to teach your child to sit quiet and still.

First Time Obedience

Like I mentioned in my first entry, in order for this all to be the most effective, you should really go through the Growing Kids God's Way (GKGW) program. Also, listening to the Mom's Notes have been a great benefit for me and I highly recommend them to anyone who has finished the GKGW program. GKGW talks a lot about the theory and importance behind the principals of First Time Obedience (and many other principals!!!). Here I just plan to give you a brief summary and then an explanation of how we are implementing First Time Obedience training in our home. I do not plan to go into the details behind the importance of First Time Obedience or how to enforce First Time Obedience outside of training sessions. During our training times at home, it is all about having fun and learning our new skills or practicing the ones my children still need work on. We do not making training time about correction. I also try to keep our training sessions short so the children aren't overwhelmed by all the new things they are learning. However, I have found the more fun you make it, the longer they enjoy doing it and how they look forward to having training time again the next day. My son actually thanks me for training time -- he enjoys it that much!!! Both my kids get very excited as soon as breakfast is cleaned up that it's now "training time"!

Here are some ways we "train" for First Time Obedience:
* We talk about how the Bible says "Children obey your parents; for it is only right that you should. 'Honor your father and your mother' is the first commandment to carry a promise with it: 'that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-2). We talk about how mommy and daddy are the parents and Owen and Anna our the children and how honor means respect. I ask each of them, "Is Owen the parent?" "Nooooo...Owen is the child". "Is Anna the parent?" "Noooo...Anna is the child." "Is Zoe (our dog) the parent?" "Noooo....Zoe is our dog!". The kids love this little game of remembering who is in fact the parent and who is the child. And how the child is to obey the parent.

* We then talk about what the word obey means. It means to do what someone tells you to do whether you want to do it or not. I have the kids repeat or tell me both the Bible verse and the definition of obey.

* Then we talk about the expectation of what it means to obey - right away, all the way, with a happy heart. We chant "right away, all the way, with a happy heart" as we clap our hands to the beat". Then we go through what it means to come to mommy/daddy right away, to obey all the way, and to obey with a happy heart. We practice what a grumpy heart looks like and then we practice what a happy heart looks like. I have to say, I LOVE my kids happy heart faces!

* We then talk more about what it means to come right away - which means when they hear mommy/daddy call their name, they say right away "Yes, Mommy I'm coming" and then they come right to where mommy is, touch my leg and look in my eyes all with a happy heart (no complaining or debating!).

* Then it comes time for actual practice time - the kids run off to the kitchen and wait until I call one of their names. I will say "Owen" and wait to hear his "right away" response "Yes Mommy, I'm coming" then he comes to where I am at and touches my leg ("all the way" response) while smiling and not debating or complaining ("happy heart" response). For my toddler (and any child under 3) I say, "Anna, come to mommy" and wait for her to come. At this age, it is not required for her to say "Yes, Mommy I'm coming" but rather just remind her once she comes that she should always say, "yes, mommy I'm coming". We do this a several times and I'll also change up where they need to go to listen for their name to be called.

Check out the photo's of the scrapbook page I created that I use as guidance for our training time. It has helped me a lot to have the notes in front of me to review each day and my kids love to sit and actually look at the scrapbook with me. (I'm having some trouble loading pictures to the blog right now...will try again later)

First Things First...

There are a few things that you can implement immediately in your family that will help reduce the amount of conflict and stress in your day...STRUCTURE YOU & YOUR CHILD'S DAY. When GKGW (Growing Kids God's Way) talks about a structured day, they aren't recommending that every minute of your day is on a strict legalistic schedule but rather to have some type of routine to your day, being of course flexible to things that may come up. Having a structured routine to your day will help keep your children behave better since they feel secure knowing what is happening when and what is coming up next. Also, they behave better because there is something planned to occupy their time with, thus reducing boredom which tends to led to bad behavior. Another great benefit of a structured day is it allows you opportunity to schedule in training times with your children. This has been the biggest benefit I have found now that I have implemented training time into our daily routine. My kids have been much better behaved and friends and family have actually noticed a positive change in their behavior all because we started training time. I have had less chastisement and corrections during the day as well! I feel so strongly about having training time during your day that I hope each of you will at least try it for two weeks and see what changes you see in your children. Non-conflict training really is worth your time and energy to do each day!

Here is our daily routine as an example:
7:00am Breakfast
7:30 Worship & Training Time
8:00 Video Time while Mom showers (I'm going to try to start doing this before the kids wake up...)
8:30 Everyone gets dressed & do morning chores
9:00 Structured Play Time in Rooms
9:30-11:30 Activities/Errands
11:30 Lunch
12:00 pm Clean-up & Unstructured Play Time Together
12:30 Nap for Anna and Quite Time on bed for Owen
1:30 One on One Time with Owen
2:30 Snacks & Unstructured Play Time
3:00 Outdoor Playtime
4:00 Story Time
4:30 Owen Play Time in Room & Anna One on One Time
5:00 Play Time together or Video Time or Help Mom in kitchen make supper
5:30 Family Dinner
6:00 Couch Time
6:15 Family Worship
6:30 Baths
7:00 Bedtime

One thing to remember when creating your structured day - what you plan for today will be different 3 months from now - especially if you have younger children or babies in the home since their needs during the day will change.

The other important thing you can do each day with your child (or if you have several children each one gets a special day) is met their love language. Not sure what your child's love language (touch point) is? Take this quiz over at to learn it and while you're at it, take some time to figure out your spouse's love language too. It's important to be filling the love tanks of our children (and spouses) -- this can also help reduce a lot of conflict in the home!

Child's love language quiz:
Spouse's love language quiz:

A "New" Approach

I needed a new approach on how I wanted to teach my children obedience. What I was doing was just not working and was leaving everyone in the family frustrated! Too many time outs, too many spankings and too much yelling which resulted in unchanged behavior. So I went back to my lessons of "Growing Kids God's Way" by the Ezzo's and the "Mom's Notes" by Joey and Carla Link. "Teach in non-conflict moments" -- what a great idea! I've heard it before and I knew what it meant but I never actually applied the concept in my desire to teach my child to obey. So I sat down and re-listened to the "First Time Obedience" and "Discipline Issues" presentations from the Mom's Notes...and then the light bulb went off! I must have training times during my children's day in order for us to practice and teach them what obedience looks like if I'm wanting any improvement in their behavior. I must teach and show them what type of behavior I expect from them instead of just telling them what they are doing wrong when they are doing it. I finally sat down and started to come up with ideas on teachable moments to train my children based on the teachings from Growing Kids God's Way and from the Mom's Notes.

This blog is a way for me to share my ideas with you so you can use them with your children in hopes of achieving better behaved children too. I have been only doing our training for two weeks now and my friends and family have already noticed remarkable positive changed behavior with my kids. And all it took was for me to create a scrapbook of teachable moments that I go over with my kids each morning so we can practice during non-conflict moments. We call it "training time" and have it every morning right after breakfast. My kids love training time and look forward to it each morning!

A little about our family -- My son will turn four January 27th and my daughter turned two on September 30th -- our wedding anniversary. I'm a stay at home mom who quit my high paying corporate job in order to be with my kids. My background is in Finance (BBA and MBA) so I'm more a numbers person verses a words person -- so bare with me if you find grammatical errors. And the most important member of our family, my husband, is a self employed Graphic Designer.

I hope you find some useful ideas to help your training at home and please feel free to share your comments and ideas on how you are training/teaching particular behavior in your home!

In order for this training to make sense and be effective, I highly recommend you complete the Growing Kids God's Way program "Along the Virtuous Way". The program can be purchased directly from their website at: -- they typically have a significant sale twice a year -- around Thanksgiving/Christmas and around Mother's Day. Also, the Mom's Notes by Joey and Carla Link offer great in depth insights into the Growing Kids God's Way teaching and principals. Mom's Notes does a great job answering some of your specific questions you may face when trying to implement character training with your children.

Hope you enjoy the journey of "training your child in the way he should go". I hope to add new training ideas as I come up with them. I do have several more to share than what I have posted right now - so make sure to join and follow my blog, leave some comments, and come back soon to get some more ideas on ways to train your kids at home!