Have you found yourself repeating to your child so many times what you want him/her to do? She would listen and perhaps ignore till the fifth time when you resort to yell or use a stern voice? How can we train our children to obey instantly?
God commands children to be obedient to their parents so that it may be well with them, and they may prosper in the land of the living. Obedience is a channel of blessing in the Kingdom of God. We need to teach our children from an early age, basically because when they are still young, children believe everything their parents say.
They will learn to listen to you and grow up hearing and looking up to you. It is not an easy task. We need to keep on striving and remind our children on what God says concerning obedience and on its importance to them.
Here are some tips on how to train our children
1. Teach them from the scriptures what God says on obedience. Teach them the importance of obedience. For example, to obey is better than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22) Obedience shows love to God (John 14:13). It brings blessings. Remind them regularly on the biblical lessons taught. Always take it to God in prayers too.
2. Expect obedience from your child with a single soft-spoken word. Difficult at first, especially if your child has gotten accustomed to ignoring you. It will trigger you off, and you may raise your voice. Don’t be hard on yourself and your child, I have learnt that with patience, practice and prayers, you both get to create a new norm for communication. It takes times, and you will both get better if you keep on the practice.
3. Make it happen. Take your child by the hand and lead her/him to it. Show your child what you expect of him to do. Lead by example, then allow your child to perform the task while you are watching—Complement your child.
Observe The Four Phases of Ease when training your child to do something
- I do it – You watch. Working on the four phases of ease will probably require your patience and take more time than doing it yourself. Introduce your child to the task at hand, for example, teach your child to brush his teeth, put on shoes properly, fold clothes or even make her bed. Give age-appropriate tasks.
- I do it – You do it. This stage involves doing the task together. You both spread the bed together.
- You do it – I assist. Let the child do it himself or herself. She will need your wisdom and support. Probably will not get it right but keep on encouraging and make the child proud of the significant achievement.
- You do it. The child does it himself/herself. Reenforce the achievement possibly. (Make it a practice to get the child’s commitment – Request the child to perform the learnt task and explain that it his/ her duty henceforth).
4. Expect prompt and cheerful obedience. Delayed obedience is not obedience. Teach your child to ask for more time respectfully but first acknowledge the request. For example, ‘Yes, mom, I am coming.’ ‘Right on it.’ etc
5. Don’t make a request that you will not follow through—for example, telling your seven-year-old to clean the table after every mealtime. But you are not consistent. Make sure the child does it every time if that is the expectation.
6. Crouch to their level and look them in the eye and ask. ‘Do I need to tell you again?’ Or are you going to think about it? Thinking here will refer to the consequences of obeying or not obeying.
7. Try using a soft voice, very low. Mostly if the child usually ignores, a quiet voice will catch her attention, and she will tune in to listen. Yelling makes her stop listening and tune out.
8. Give choices that ‘either choice’ will be ok for you. For example, your child refuses to leave, and you are running late.
‘You can come with me on your own two feet, or you can come with me on my own two feet.’ Pause and let the child think on which best suits her/him.
For an older child, ‘You can clean your room or hire someone else to do it.’ Either way, the room gets cleaned. If she/he wants to hire you, make sure to name your cost.
9. Make it fun if you can. For example, for the 3year old, you can teach the song, ‘Simon says,’ ‘Run to Mommy game’ etc. The child will do the task promptly in the game.
10. Agree on the reward. Introduce rewards where it applies. For small children, a bonus can even be a sticker. However, be careful again not to make the child feel entitled to be rewarded every time she/he performs a task.