The illusive, yet necessary training of young children remains a lively and interesting conversation by parents everywhere. Certainly, those of us familiar with the Parenting On Track™ program now available to download, and the idea that self-esteem is developed by contributing in meaningful ways to the family (and by extension the communities we are a part of) are ahead of the game.
Create a Timeline For Training by answering the following 3 questions:
- What can your kids do that they will do?
- What can your kids do that they don’t do?
- What don’t your kids do because they haven’t been trained?
With the first list, remember to acknowledge and notice progress, improvement and what it takes for your child to actually do the tasks on a regular basis with no help from you.
Move to your second list and follow the recommendations I made: Have a conversation, create a list together, ask the kids what they would like to work on first, choose a new skill every week or two, acknowledge progress and improvement and then celebrate. Move to your third list and follow all the procedures you used for the step above.
It’s really very simple. You are creating a system, a routine that you will be used for the rest of your child’s life. There is no reason to make this more complicated than it needs to be. When you make it complicated, the kids get confused and then discouraged and then they fight you about the contributions and you quit and say it doesn’t work.
It does work. And the sooner you create the system and actually use it, the easier it will be on everyone.
This is important. You have to stay in front of your kids. Remember, they are learners. We teach them something new, they master it in 5 minutes and it takes us 4 weeks before we teach them something else. CRAZY. Our job is teach the kids as quickly as they can learn it.
Your kids gobble up life at break neck speed. It is hard for you to stay in front of them AND you may even worry that you are piling on too much. But fear not, soon enough, they will move past that and they will slow down, all on their own. This is called a rhythm. Yes, a rhythm. Your child’s rhythm to be exact. You can not imagine how many parents have no idea what their kids rhythm is and mistake a slow rhythm for laziness or dis-interest. So stay alert.
Keep updating and teaching and remember to include self skills, life skills, social skills and more self, life and social skills. Again, it is a cycle, a rhythm. It never ends. Build on, dive deep, make it juicy.
And finally, so as to elevate any confusion
I used the contributions at Family Meetings to create all of this. I did not have 5 different charts. I had a white board per child. Each morning, they woke up and wrote down, or put the picture of the task on their white board. We did this together. It was a time for me to connect with them. If my oldest had the Kitchen as her contribution, it meant that she: set the table, cleared the table, loaded the dishwasher and started the dishwasher. When my son (who was 5 years younger) picked the Kitchen, it meant: set the table & clear the table. The Kitchen list grew as they did until, when my oldest reached 9 and she drew the Kitchen, it meant the entire kitchen, top to bottom. Done. Easy.
Remember you can’t pour self-esteem into kids with stickers, treats, and praise. Self-esteem is developed along the way, by practicing, messing up, trying again, and eventually finding a solution that works. Relax and enjoy the process!