Many times we expect our children to obey or follow directions that they may not know exactly how to do. We tell a energy-ful child to sit still during church or at dinner, yet they may not know how they can go about doing that. Parent response to the directions not being followed: frustration or giving up and letting them do what they want or???

Another alternative: demonstrate/model and practice the behavior we want them to perform. And when it doesn’t work out, model and practice some more. Training our children…

Example #1: This past month, we wanted our 20 month old to be able to sit still on our laps when we went to all our holiday celebrations. Per a suggestion from Elizabeth Krueger’s book Raising Godly Tomatoes, we practiced this after dinner by having her sit on our laps- when she tried to flip over or squirm away we gently told her to sit still and relax. We didn’t hold her in place, we just let her practice and understand how to sit still on our laps. We only practiced for a few minutes at a time and for a few days- but she got it and does it well now.

Example #2: I fill up water bottles for my kids each morning and leave them on the counter for them to drink as needed. This cuts down on dishes, etc. Problem is that they don’t always put them back, and then we lose the cups. So, I have had them practice getting their cup, taking a drink, and putting it back on the counter. Now, the cups are finding their way to the counter after each drinks.