Now that summer is upon us, days are slower, schedules are looser and children are feeling more lazy. I don't blame them! I loved the carefree days of summertime...it felt like there were no rules. But, of course, as parents, we know that is not exactly accurate! No rules?! Yikes!
Help Kids WANT to be Obedient
How do we keep the day-to-day "rule-following" going? How do we raise obedient children who WANT to be obedient. After all, the final goal is to have raised children who become well-rounded adults who almost automatically do the right thing because....well, it is the RIGHT thing to do!
In our family, we have different personalities and each child pushes the limits in different ways. If they have had a good meal, plenty of exercise and a limit on screen time, then obedience to mom and dad's rules is MUCH easier!
Why is Obedience a Virtue?
Attention to being obedient to God's laws and your family rules help to form the consciences within your children at a young age. A well-formed conscience is invaluable as a child grows into each phase of life.
Know What is Expected
What I have found is that if our boys know what is expected in each situation, then it is more about reminding them than telling them.
For example, one big thing for me, personally, is nice manners at the table and especially out at a restaurant. In fact, that is one of the things I noticed and really appreciated about my husband when we were dating. He had nice table manners.
So, when the boys were younger, I made a cute little table manners checklist that hung on the wall near the kitchen table. It gave the rules of the family dinner table.
It was written in a nice way that shows it applied to the whole family...not just commands to the kids! It went something like this:
We pray nicely before eating.
We say please and thank you.
We always chew with our mouths closed.
We use napkins.
We have "no-thank-you" bites (to try things we don't think we like).
We thank the cook for a nice meal.
Remind, yes. Command, no.
Whenever they seemed to be having less-than-perfect table manners, then we would just re-state the sentence from the chart. It also helped that I could always say, "Look at Daddy! See how he is using his napkin so nicely?" Well, monkey-see, monkey-do. They would all try to "be like Daddy".
I never had to command good manners. I taught, showed the example and reminded. Now, I can't claim to have the most perfect children with the most impeccable manners, but I feel comfortable having them all out to dinner at a restaurant or a friend's house.
Make it Visual
Whether it is table manners or telling the truth, or doing chores when they are supposed to, visuals are always a great reminder.
All children (even teens) like to SEE progress being made in their behavior.
Besides positive verbal encouragement, which my boys love, visuals are nice to have as well. That way they can see how they are making progress.
Checklists, charts, stickers...whatever works for your family! We have used so many options to help family grow in all of the virtues.
Our Monthly Virtues Chart Bundle is a great way to emphasize, track and reward your children as they grow in a specific virtue each month.
"If you love me, you will obey my commandments. ... The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him." John 14:23