Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Have Non Conflict Training in Your Home

I often hear moms say "I struggle with how to do non-conflict training...I just don't know what to do or how to do it." Are you one of these moms? Well, not to fear -- hopefully this post will help give you some encouragement and send you on your way to do non conflict training in your own home, too!

The most easy and basic way to do non-conflict training is to look at the negative behaviors you see in your children and just teach them the correct way they need to be acting. And what a fun and easy way to teach them is by role playing! For example, I had a friend say she was struggling with self control with her two year old and how he would not sit still and wait his turn in Sabbath School. A great non conflict training time could be to role play Sabbath School at home. I suggested she set up some of his toy animals and have them do things in "Sabbath School" while her son waited his turn all the while talking to him about how it's important to wait our turn and what waiting our turn looks like in Sabbath School. I also suggested she teach and show her son what sitting still and waiting turns doesn't look like -- this way her son knows what is expected and what is not expected. (She did report back that he did so much better that week in Sabbath School sitting still and waiting his turn.)

My kids love role playing the way they are suppose to act and even more so the way they aren't suppose to act! ;-) We actually have a lot of fun with this! And yes, non conflict training should be FUN!!! My kids actually ask me if it's time for "training time" -- they enjoy it that much! It's great that role playing helps me truly see that my kids know the right way they are suppose to be acting and that they know the wrong way. Then there are no questions of "did they really know what I was expecting" when it comes to consequences for wrong behavior.

Another way to do non-conflict training is to just practice the expected behavior."Practice makes perfect" -- I'm sure all of you have heard this saying before and it is so true. Practice does make perfect. So what do I mean by practice? Well, does you child have a hard time folding their hands and getting self control when you tell them to do so? Well, have you ever practiced it? Does your child have a difficult time sitting still during worship or story time? Have you ever practiced it? Some of our training times have included just practicing certain behaviors. Things like sitting still and quiet, folding of hands, we've even just practiced walking vs running, talking quietly vs loudly, being kind vs being mean, sharing vs snatching, gentle vs rough.. Basically we just practice and talk about the virtue and what it looks like and we talk about what the opposing vice looks like. Again, this helps me know that my kids understand the meaning and expectation of a particular virtue.

One last way we have implemented non conflict training time in our house is through books and videos. I like looking for story books that tell stories on the behaviors we are working on -- one of our favorite stories right now is "Andrew's Angry Words". And guess what moms - if you can't find a particular book on the behavior you are working on you could always tell your own story with a book you already own! There is no rule saying you must read every word in a story book! But I have found several great story books out there with a simple google search on the internet. And never forgot the power of the stories already given to us in the Bible that teach many of the virtues we want our children to be learning. Also, there have been several videos that we have found that teach the virtues we are working on - Veggie Tales, Auto B Good, Character Builders, to name a few series.

Finally, I find it important to always share what the Bible has to say about the particular behavior we are working on. I read somewhere, like how using a timer keeps children from arguing with you as much when the time is off, that the same thing happens when you show them what God says about a particular behavior. If you just tell your kids, "hey, mommy wants you to be kind to your friends" they may challenge you on why they need to be kind. But if you say "hey kids, let's see what God tells us about being kind in the Bible" it's a bit harder to challenge the true Authority!

I hope this has given you some simple and easy ideas on implementing non conflict training in your home! It truly is a wonderful blessing and it really doesn't need to take too long to do. In some cases, our training time is only 5 or 10 minutes. And never underestimate God's wisdom He promises to give each and everyone of us! All we have to do is pray and ask for His wisdom and guidance for ours and our children's lives and He will help us see how to train our children in the ways they should go!

So here is a brief summary for non conflict training time:

T each your child the right way to behave
R ole play
A lways practice
I nstruct with what the Bible says
N ever forget to bring it to the Lord in prayer

Keep it simple and have FUN!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Accountable Kids

So I've been looking for a chore chart to use with my kids. I had several requirements, but mainly wanted something easy that even my kids could just do it on their own -- of course after teaching them expectations on how to do each chore. I also needed a chore chart that would provide an easy way to start allowing certain chores to be done to earn money. My 5 year old is starting to want specific things he sees and so I'm feeling now is a great time to start teaching the importance of earning money for the things we want (of course after tithing and savings...). A friend told me about this program called Accountable Kids. She actually started using it for her 2 boys and so I borrowed her book to read up on their program. I have to say, I was very excited about all the program had to offer. Not only did it help the kids know what chores they had to do (with pictures and words!), but it also taught the importance of doing work around the house just because you live there and also provided ways to do additional chores to earn money. (I only have this option set up for my 5 year old right now).

I'll write more on the program after we've used it for 30 days. This was our first week at it and I have to say what is really nice about this program is instead of saying "Owen did you make your bed this morning", I can just tell him to make sure he's checked his board. Being that this is the first week, there has been reminders for the kids to check their boards but as time progresses is the idea that kids will just do their chores without any prompting or reminding. What motivates them to do this, you may ask? Well for every section of chores they complete (morning, afternoon and evening) they come and get a "privilege ticket" that can be used for a predetermined list of privileges you have come up with. I have to say, this has significantly reduced TV time in our house since for us, if you don't have a ticket, you can't watch a show.

When I first got the kit, I hung it up in our kitchen and without ever saying anything to the kids about it, for the next 2 days my son made his bed without me even saying anything! Then this last Sunday we had the "formal" training (don't worry, they break it down in the book into 4 manageable sections to teach your kids how to use the program and then you move onto the other section once everyone is comfortable). The next morning, both my kids had gotten up and started on their chores right away. I didn't even say a word!

Anyway, you should go and check out the Accountable Kids video they have on posted on their website at Also come back to my blog and look for a few updates on how things are going for us. I have to say, my husband has been really impressed on how both of the kids seem to really enjoy doing their chores, moving their completed chores over, getting their tickets and redeeming them for privileges. Like their website says "Raising Accountable Kids has never been so much fun!" And I'm loving how it's taking the responsibility off of me and putting it on the kids -- where it belongs!

Go and watch the video and let me know what you think about the Accountable Kids program!

Teaching Self Control

I wanted to take some time this morning as my kids are running around playing outside to write about self control and ways to teach your toddler and preschool self control. I know I have encountered some mom's that have given me some strange looks while for example at the grocery store when I say to my almost getting out of control kids "you need to fold your hands and get some self control." I'm sure they are thinking there is no way such little kids can have self control but I have seen it with my own eyes! I also believe the sooner you start teaching your kids what it means to have self control, the sooner they will get it. Irconically I just picked up the book "Nurture Shock" and it actually had a chapter on a preschool class that had learned through their school program self control and they actually behaved better than the older class children -- can you believe that the preschoolers were behaving better than the older students?

Anyway, here are some ways we've taught self control (and continue teaching self control) in our home. I have actually created a scrapbook that we use during our training times. It covers different topics like first time obedience (or obeying quickly -- whatever you want to call it but it's the same principal), some games we play that teach moral excellence, some Bible verses on particular behavior we are working on and ways we are learning that best way to be...basically it helps me and the kids have something to look at and keep consistent with.

For teaching a child self control, it helps that when they start getting to that point of no longer being in control, that you can say to them "you need to fold your hands and get some self control". Something magical happens when you tell your kids to fold their hands -- the energy in their body all of sudden goes to focusing on keeping their hands folded and this gives them time to calm down and get control back. Of course you can't expect your kids to fold their hands to get self control if you have never taught them your expectation in the first place -- and what better way to do this is during non-conflict training, or what we call "training time".

During our training time for self control, we practice what it means to get self control. For us that means "no talking or making noise, sitting still, and hands are folded". We practice what it looks like to have self control, what it looks like to get self control (folding of hands...) and what it looks like when we don't have self control -- this happens to be my kids favorite! Acting all silly and wiggly and goofy. This helps me so I know that the kids truly know what it means, feels like, and looks like when they have self control and when they don't have self control.

We actually take 5 to 10 minutes of practicing sitting on our stools with our hands folded, mouths are quiet and we are sitting still. I have a timer for each child and if someone is having trouble in one of the areas, I'll restart their timer until they are able to complete the time necessary. Some of you may thinking this is harsh but let me ask you, how many of your kids are able to sit quiet and still for easily 30 minutes while watching a TV show? By being able to train them to sit quiet and still when I need them to has been very helpful in so many different situations. For example when I'm driving the car and they start hitting on each other - I can say "Owen, Anna, you need to fold your hands until mommy sees that you have self control". And since I've trained them in this, they do it and the hitting and fighting is over and I can continue focusing on driving. Another area I have found this especially helpful is when we are shopping in a store and little hands like to start touching things. I either tell them they need to put their hands in their pockets or fold their hands to help them resist the urge to be touching everything thing we walk by in the store. Or what about when you are a the doctors office and you have two of more of your kids with you and you are trying to talk to the doctor but your 4 year old is running around going crazy and being loud that you can't even talk to the doctor. Having them sit quiet and still until you are done has been very helpful.

There are many different ways you can teach your children self control through play as well. One easy game is to play "Simon Says", kids have to listen to the diffent things called out and do them only when Simon Says. Another game is "Red Light / Green Light" which also helps children have self control to stop and go and the correct times. I also have found just practicing and role playing the areas that you are struggling self control with. For example, if your child is struggling with self control when it comes to say sharing toys with another child and not just statching them (yes, this is a form of self control!) then role play and practice what is looks like, what the child can say, and what the child can do to show self control and what it looks like when they don't have self control.

In the book "Creative Family Times" they dedicate a whole chapter to sit time, which is a time the child sits and reads books quietly for a predetermined amount of time. We do this in our home as well, but call it "reading time". This also teaches a child self control. But just remember however you want self control to look like in your home and with your children, then you need to teach them that way and practice, practice, pracite. For our family, I have seen great benefits in teaching our children self control in all these areas: folding of hands, sitting quietly reading books, sitting quietly playing with a predetermined toy, sharing toys without snatching...You won't be able to expect your child to fold their hands to get self control if you have never practiced it. WIth small children, you could even help hold their hands for a short amount of time so they know exactly what you are expecting until they are able to do it themselves.

What ways do you teach your toddlers and preschoolers self control? Have you seen positive results in your training?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Second Giveaway: A Checklist for Parents -- FROM DOORPOSTS

Today is day #2 for the 10 day give away over at the new blog by Doorposts. Make sure you head on over to enter their give away and make sure to check out their great resources!

Make sure you go ahead and visit their new blog Doorpost of Your Heart for a chance to win!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Write Them on Your Doorposts of Your Heart -- Hurry and Enter TODAY!

Have I mentioned how much I reference by book "For Instruction in Righteousness" written by Pam Foster and published by Doorposts? I don't think it has come up yet in my blog, but I have to say, anytime I'm needing some scripture advice on a particular behavior, situation or problem we are facing, I like to pull out my "For Instruction in Righteousness" book. So you wouldn't believe how excited I was when I saw another friend post about their new blog! Yes, Doorposts has created a new blog and to help spread the word, they are starting a 10 day give away to win some of their wonderful resources. And one lucky person will win their entire set! Make sure you go ahead and visit their new blog Doorpost of Your Heart for a chance to win!

And while you are there, check out the tab for "Weekly Character Projects". Once a week, they will be posting a project out of "Plants Grown Up" or "Polished Cornerstones", along with any needed instructions or study forms. This week's project has just been posted and is titled "How to Develop Patience Toward Others". You can click here to go directly to this project.

But don't forget to enter their wonderful giveway! Let me know if you win anything!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3 Simple Rules?!

Can that be even possible to have 3 Simple Rules for everyday situations for your kids? I don't remember what book it was that I was reading (I think it was one from Kay Kuzma) but I came across these 3 rules for conduct for your kids. I liked how simple they were to remember but yet how they apply to almost every behavioral situation your kids may encounter.

Here are the 3 rules:

* We don't hurt others (I remind my kids that this includes our words and our actions)
* We don't hurt things
* We don't hurt ourselves

Start off in non-conflict training going over these three rules and explaining to your kids in detail what each of these rules mean and include examples. You can even make a fun game out of it by asking your kids to tell you which rule you are breaking. For example you could say "Oh, I'm so upset that I just threw my friends toy on the ground" -- we don't hurt things. Or "I just shouted to my friend "You are being so mean and selfish" -- we don't hurt others. "I really would like to jump up and down on the sofa" -- we don't hurt ourselves and we don't hurt things. Get the idea?

I don't know about you, but I feel it is important to go over behavior and rules with your children before going over to someone's house for a play date, or running errands in a store, or whatever outing you're about to do -- it is a good idea to remind them (or if they are older, have them tell you) what the expectations are for how to behave. And by teaching them these 3 rules you don't have to have a huge list of "do's and don'ts".

Also, another way to help your kids understand the rules is if they are breaking one of them -- say hitting their sister in frustration, you could simple go over and say "remember we don't hurt others -- you need to go take a break, now".

Having 3 simple rules makes it easy for both you and your kids. There isn't a huge list to remember and by only having three simple rules, it helps everyone be consistent with expectations. Even little ones will easily remember what the three rules are.

Do you have consistent rules in your family? Do you remind your kids each time you go out how they are to behave?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Too many freedoms?

So last night Anna was refusing to put on the pjs that I had picked out for her to wear to bed. What's a mother to do? Well, I'll tell you what I did. I told her that it was mommy's choice tonight and that these are the pjs I have for her to wear. That was that. She wasn't too happy about it, but she did finally put them on. As she was putting them on, my husband said "Anna, tomorrow night you can pick out your own pjs to wear." Um, what?! After Anna was in bed I shared with Mark about Anna being too wise in her own eyes and having too many freedoms. How do you know if your child has too many freedoms? When they throw a fit over something you decide for them. The example the Ezzo's gave in the GKGW series is tomorrow morning, make breakfast for your kids and just set it out on the table without asking them what they want or making them what you know they love. Do they end up complaining about what you served? Did they whine about wanting something different to eat? If so, then they have too many freedoms! If your child can handle you making decisions for them (after all we are the parent, right?!) without throwing a fit, or complaining, or whining about it, then they are showing they can have the freedom with that decision to make for themselves. Does that make sense?

Another tell tail sign your child has too many freedoms is when they do something, say like going outside, do they ask your first or do they just tell you they are going outside? Or even worse just go outside without even you knowing it?! I'll hopefully post more on that later -- but stop and listen to how your children talk to you throughout the day. Are they asking you or telling you things they would like to do?

So back to the story of Anna. Instead of letting her pick out her pjs tonight, I told her that because of her attitude of mommy picking them out, that I will continue to pick them out for the next three nights. Then we can see if she has the freedom to choose her pjs once in awhile.

Why bother, you may ask. Isn't it just pjs? Don't forgot to view parenting from the BIG picture. A small situation today can turn into a BIG problem in the future.

Is your child wise in their own eyes? Do they have too many freedoms?

Why bother with Obedience Training?

So I was thinking based on my post yesterday on "Yes Mommy/Daddy", maybe some of you are wondering why even bother with training your children in obedience -- well, here are some thoughts to consider which I learned from watching the Toddler Transition DVDs series from Growing Family's International.

* Health and Safety -- by training your children in first time obedience you can keep them healthy and safe. For example, you will know that if your child starts to run for the street, you could call their name and tell them to stop and they will. Or if your child is sick and needs to take medicine, by having trained in first time obedience, your child will take his medicine without it being a battle.

* General Parenting -- how many times have your gotten frustrated by repeating over and over instructions for your children to obey? Does your blood start to boil, your voice get louder and your temper start to flare? An easy way to get rid of all those feelings is to train your child in first time obedience so you know that the first time you say something to them, they will do it. No getting frustrated, no getting angry and no raising your voice. Sounds great, doesn't it? And please don't use the "I'm counting to 3" to get your child to obey...if they obey you at 3 then they can obey you at's all in the training and your expectations.

* Stewardship -- by training in first time obedience you are teaching your child also to be gentle and respectful to things around them, like their toys and other people's things. If you are at someone's house and your child starts jumping on their couch, since you've trained in first time obedience you can say"you need to keep your feet on the floor" and know that they will obey you.

* Moral -- training in first time obedience is a moral thing to do. Remember that the Bible commands our children to obey their parents - but it's the parents job to teach them to obey! When training your child, those 3 and older need to understand the moral reasons why to obey. So start including that in your instructions for obedience.

Hope this helped briefly clarify the importance of training your child to obey. Do you have any other reasons why it is important?

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Yes, Mommy/Daddy"

So this week we are refocusing our training time to first time obedience. The Mom's Notes by Joey and Carla Link have a great presentation on first time obedience () that provides step by step suggestions based on your child's age on how to achieve first time obedience -- after all children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1 ; Colossians 3:20) So how do you go about instilling first time obedience with your children, you might ask? By starting with non-conflict training of course!!!

Here is what we've come up for our family, which is based on the GKGW and Mom's Notes presentations. I also got some new ideas from the book I referenced yesterday "Good and Angry" and from a friend who did a similar chart for her girls.

Yes, I need charts to help keep me consistent and organized! And guess what, my kids LOVE charts and for some strange reason, just knowing they get a check mark motivates their behavior so positively! So, I made a chart, that we all went over together this morning during our training time. Here is how we handle first time obedience in our family --

* SAYS -- When I call my child's name, I want them to say "Yes, Mommy. I'm coming." The "I'm coming" is especially important if they are in another room when I've called their name. But if we are in the same room, I just expect them to say "Yes, Mommy" and then look at me in the eyes. (remember that you and your spouse should get in the habit of saying "yes" to when they hear their named called as well...just saying "huh" or "what" or even worse nothing when someone else calls your name is not setting a good example to your children -- please don't set up standards for your kids that you are not willing to follow yourself!) Oh -- one important thing: when you call your child's name WAIT before saying anything else!!! This is an area of great self control for me. I'm so use to saying "Owen, you need to go pick up your toys now" vs saying "Owen" and WAITING for him to say "yes, Mommy" then giving him the instructions.

* DOES -- When they say "Yes, Mommy. I'm coming", they are to come right away and with a happy heart.

* LOOKS -- When they come to me I want them looking at me in the eyes.

* REPEATS -- In GKGW/Mom's Notes they recommend the child says "Yes, Mommy" after receiving instructions since by them acknowledging your instructions by saying "yes Mommy", two things happen. One you know that they heard your instructions and two they take ownership of those instructions. However, Anna would just out of habit say "yes Momma" after my instructions and then not follow through with them. So I've added that after my instructions, they are to say "Yes, Momma" and then repeat back what I've told them to do. So for example I would say "Anna, you need to go pick up your toys" and she is to repeat back "yes, momma, I will go and pick up my toys". I've noticed with her how it's been difficult for her to bring herself to repeat my instructions since it is causing her to follow through with what she is saying -- which is the goal I'm wanting her to achieve!

* OBEYS -- I want my kids to obey first. No complaining, arguing, debating...just go and do it. If we need to talk about the reason why afterward, that's okay. But they need to obey first, with a happy heart. Now parents -- PLEASE pay attention to what your children is doing before calling their names and expecting first time obedience from them...say your child is almost finished watching their favorite TV show and you call them to do something. Is it fair to expect them to stop their show when there is only a few minutes left when your instructions could wait till the show is over? We are called not to exasperated our children (Colossians 3:21). GKGW has a great presentation on "The Call To Appeal" which can be a privilege to those who have demonstrated first time obedience.

So for each time my children follows through with these steps, they will get a check mark on the board. For every time they don't follow through with one of these steps, they will get an X mark. As far as consequences, for every X mark there will be a 5 minute 'time out' and then the opportunity to try it again. And after 5 X marks in one day there will be a lost of privilege. Why check off each step? So I can see what areas my kids need to focus their attention on. Right now I know Anna needs more focus on the repeating my instructions and Owen needs to focus more on obeying first -- but maybe after this week of tracking I'll see other areas that are strengths and/or weaknesses.

How are your helping your children achieve obedience in your home?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do you have a routine?

Wow, where have the last 9 months gone?! I can't believe how long it's been since the last time I've posted on here! But I'm back again and hope to stick with it a lot longer now that we've gotten past holidays and birthdays and that I'm stepping up my training with the kids...Honestly, truth be told, I did forget my password and couldn't post some of the things I was wanting to post. I finally sat down today and figured out how to reset my password.

I've been reading this great book called "Good and Angry -- Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids!" by Scott Turansky. The title caught my attention since I've been experiencing anger and frustration lately towards my kids behavior and I was looking for ways to resolve my angry feelings. I loved how this book addressed anger as not being necessary a bad thing (yes, it can be and the Bible warns us about sinning when being angry in Ephesians 4:26) but rather how to use our anger as an opportunity to address and solve what is causing us to be angry in the first place. Did you get that? So instead of always getting angry at your kids for say, not listening to you, come up with a way to solve the problem of your kids not listening to you and there goes away your anger! Sounds pretty simple huh?

Do you have a routine at home? A routine maybe for how you schedule your day? Or how you go about cleaning the kitchen? Or what you have the kids do each night before bed? I'm sure all of you have some type of routine in your family. This book explains how to create routines to resolve behavior issues with your kids, those particular behavior issues that cause you frustration.

So since we used the example above of children not listening to you, here is the recommended routine to help resolve any anger and frustration you get when your children don't listen to you. This is from the book "Good and Angry":

Step 1: Get Close Together - the child comes when called
Step 2: Consider the timing - the child responds
Step 3: Give the instructions - the child answers
Step 4: Wait - the child does the job
Step 5: Child checks back with you - you inspect

For more details on these steps consider reading the book for yourself. Also, I plan to post more on first time obedience - which the first step is coming when you call your child's name later this week. It's something that has slipped recently in our household.