I am deciding on which habits I want to go over with my children based on Laying Down the Rails. I know CM’s top 3 are 1) obedience 2) attention and 3) Trustworthiness. Obedience we have a pretty good handle on it, I just need to keep it up. Here’s my question. I have 1 child (6yrs old) that NEEDS to work on self-control and the other child (9yrs old) who NEEDS to work on the habit of attention (well, they both need to work on attention). I know you are supposed to focus on 1 habit at a time. However if I don’t work on both of these habits and have them better at it by the time Fall comes, I may have to scream LOL! Sooo, what are all of your thoughts if I work on both of those at the SAME time? Will it be harder on me or not work as well as if I just did one ie self-control for the 6 week duration? I need to nip this in the bud, so whatever you wise ladies suggest is what I will do :-).
Just an idea: How about if you incorporate self-control into the habit of attentiveness…i.e. one of the things we’re going to learn to pay attention to/be aware of, is our emotions/reactions/whatever. That would be the first step in self-control, I’m thinking; becoming aware of what’s happening inside. Incidentally, we are working on attentiveness…and self-control is on my list of urgent needs too. I hadn’t thought of this until now, but I think I’m going to do the same thing.RobinPParticipant
Well, I think it’s nearly impossible to be attentive if you cannot control your thoughts, body, etc. and how you react to distractions. I think the habit of attention is a form of self control. I never really thought of it that way until now but I’m constantly saying to my boys, “Control your body and your mind. Be here now” before we begin schoolwork or a task that I want them fully absorbed in.
Thanks ladies! So this is my first time applying Laying Down the Rails. With doing Attention for example, there are LOTS of points. How do you do this? Do you take the 3 or so points and wok on those. When those are better, take the next 3 or so….. do you work on all of the points at the same time?
I don’t have a lot of wisdom as I’m just getting started too, but I’ll bump you up…and offer what I’m trying now. I chose to work on one point at a time within the “attention” category…attention to duty. I have children from 2 to 14. So that one point is different for some but very similar. We’re all learning to give our attention to what ought to be done right after breakfast, but each child’s goals are a little different. Oldest is learning to get the laundry gathered, sorted and started first thing in the morning b/c this is her responsibility and she has been more in the habit of ignoring it than of taking the initiative with it. My younger ones have the help of a little chorepack – and their challenge is to get it and use it to the finish without any prompting…all have little rewards every 5-6 days with no missing.
Now, I would love to hear how some moms with EXPERIENCE are doing it!!kellywright006Participant
I am not one with experience, sorry…..I too am anxious to hear the responses to these questions. And also, have to ask some additional questions! 🙂
I understand Attention is supposed to be #1. I have a child who is so unbelieveablly slow in completing taks and responsibilities, I want to scream. I have got to work on this, this summer or one of us is gonna have to move out. LOL. She is 9 BTW.
Also, In reading LDTR< I loved when it said, the longer you go without an infraction, the more solid a habit will be. And the inverse is true, not attending to the bad habit, will allow it to flurish and solidify. EEK, if we are only working on one at a time, many others are like drying concrete?
And, lastly…..ME. I tend to be scatter-brained, get off task, don’t have a solid schedule……so, seems like I don’t have great “habits” as Charlotte would say. So, how to I implement, what I do not posess?
If this is the main focus, as it seems it is from this blog and LDTR, I am hoping we can get a good discussion going with experieced moms in this!
I am working on 1) obedience- but just fine tuning it and keeping up with it and then 2) self-control- OH MY GOODNESS, how in the WORLD do you keep a child from having a tantrum over every little thing!? Or just screaming if he BARELY hurt himself?! I am going to SCREAM! and then 3) attention- yes, all at once. However, here is something I am seeing a result in and I guess the obedience/attention piggy back each other in this. I am only saying it one time and I am just looking at the kids (6DS and 9DD) if they didn’t remember what I said to make them think instead of just telling them right away. Or I will call (mainly the 9 yr old) my DD into a room if something isn’t put away and she is needing to figure out what it is. Amazing, it actually works! Now, we have only been at this for 1-2 days BUT it’s a goos start and encouraging me at least.
Let’s throw something fun into the mix on top of just trying to figure out how to work on these habits, shall we LOL! Because of course this isn’t enough to try and figure out LOL! What about chores combined with LDTR? I have 3 chore systems I am looking into and I am trying to figure out IF I should use a system OR will that be going against the results on LDTR, so I guess that needs to be my first question. What do you think? Use a chore system along with LDTR, they still need to know what chores they need to do and I don’t want to be nagging them to always do the next thing. So I’m guessing it would go along nicely with it? I just want to implement something so I can work at it over the summer so that come the Fall, we will have Smooth & Easy Days :-).
Then IF using a chore system would be good, I was wondering if any of you have had any experience with any of these?
1) Managers of Thier Chores with the Chore Packs- from Titus2-http://www.titus2.com/managers-of-their-chores.html
2)Accountable Kids- http://www.accountablekids.com
3)The Everyday Family Chore System by Vicki Bentley-http://www.everydayhomemaking.com/books-and-media/chore.html
I have used the Chore Packs a while ago but need to re-do and change them. I still get confused by how to use that system.kellywright006Participant
I am wondering if anyone can speak, from EXPERIENECE to the above questions.sarah2106Participant
I have read LDTL but do not have LDTRforChildren set.
I think a chore chart can go along with creating good habits, but chore charts just depend on the family and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I do not like the fancy ones at all, they overwhelm me, let alone the kids.
I did create my own simple chore chart (have a 8, 6, & 3-year old). All I put on are things that I am tired of reminding the kids to do. Things that they can, and need to do on their own with out reminding. I do not expect it to last forever, but hope it will help create good habits of them taking care of things on their own and taking care of themselves and their things.
My friend suggested only listing things that I am tired of telling them to do so I have: Make Bed, Brush Teeth, Practice Piano, Sweep the Floor, pick up toys (which is never flipped until end of the day) and a few others. I do not put down things that they do with me, like cleaning the house. They always chip in and those depend on my schedule. I used a basball card sleeve (it has 9 plastic pockets). I made little cards out of simple colored paper. I put a picture of the task and the word of the task. Throughout the day they have to flip over each card as they complete the task. It is at their eye level (on the bottom of a door) and if at the end of the day they have completed all the tasks with out me reminding them to they receive a bean. The bean is worth a certain amount of money (25 cents) that they can save or spend. If they help out with out me asking (last week my 2 older ones volunteered to help me weed the garden with out me asking) I added a few extra beans with out telling them. They can not bring extra work to my attentin (can not brag about “look what I did”) but if I notice something they did extra that was very helpful they might receive extra. They can also loose beans if they are disrespectful or hurtful to a sibling on purpose (accidents as we know happen)
For my kids this has been working great. They like the visual of the beans and little cards. It really takes things out of my hands and gives it to them to be in charge of and it seems to be creating good habits for them.
(sorry for typos, touchscreen and I do not always agree)MistyParticipant
For those who are using Laying Down the Rails are you speaking of the “Habit Companion”? I am tossing around purchasing that for this year and would love to hear some thoughts on it?
Misty, I do not have the companion book to Laying Down the Rails. I only have the very first edition.
Kelly, I am the one who posted the questions about the 3 chore systems above. My husband and I were discussing the Accountable Kids one and after discussing it, we are deciding not to use it. We felt that it was more behavior modification than anything else and we just don’t want that instilled into our children.
I am still trying to look over the other two.
Kellywright and others:
Since we’re not hearing from moms with experience with LDTR experience, I am going to try to speak to the things I do have some experience with that haven’t been addressed yet. I have raised two children thru to leaving home, and have 4 at home right now…so I have learned a bit through the years about some of these things. Much of it through my own mistakes, and some of it by heeding the only two small bits of specific parenting advice I had from my own parents and grandparents as a young mom. (If anyone is curious, here they are: “Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay.” And, “Make sure it is more uncomfortable for the child out of church, than in church.”)
About mom – it is a fact that many of us were neither wired nor taught this way – and that if we don’t “fix” ourselves in this, we’ll never “fix” the kids. The first habit for Mom, is to establish the habit of working on habits. This is actually the same as the first habit for the kids – attentiveness! We have to get/be in the habit of paying attention to our children and to what needs to be done. One thing that has helped me a lot, it to keep a little journal…I add to it VERY infrequently…and write down the things that seem like really big problems. Often I find that they are either very simple (the are by the back door is continually messy) and I can quickly get ahead of the problem by focusing attention and effort there for all of us for a bit, and a major irritation is gone; or many of the things will be related (lack of responsibility, which is currently known at our house as lack of attention to duty and happens to be the habit we are working on right now). Then by zeroing in on the one that is most basic and will give you the most milage in bringing peace and order to your days…you have a focus. Then, I need help to keep my focus. I have to use tools for myself as well as the kids. I’ve sometimes used a little chorepack for myself (that’s on my to do list right now to make a new one), I often write the habit focus on the chalkboard by the kitchen table to help keep myself focussed. And the main things is it takes HARD WORK and major COMMITMENT from Mom. The second habit for Mom, is whatever the kids are working on. If you give your attention diligently to it too, you will succeed. One thing my husband points out to me periodically, and very painfully to me…is that I expect a respectful, cheerful answer from the children when I offer correction and instruction, but I don’t always give that to him – and in the presence of the children! I have to find a way to grow in this…even after all these years of trying.
Beyond that, I will just say that foundational to all of this, is establishing your authority with your children. I think there are two things here that are critical. I can’t quote anything…but I know that Charlotte Mason addressed both. The first is to make sure you mean what you say before you say it. “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.” Never let a thing go without seeing it thru to satisfactory obedience. If you don’t establish this, you can’t be successful in using it with other habits. Obedience and attentiveness to Mom’s requests has to be established first, and firmly. It is not quickly done and then you move on. This is definitely one thing we have to continually be on the lookout for. The second thing is one reason I suspect children tend to listen and obey Daddy better than Mom. We talk too much/too long, and act too little and too slowly. Mommy expects Abigail to get dressed quickly. I need to decide what I’m going to DO about it, and then DO it every time, rather than say it again. Then she will learn.
Specifically about slowness: Sometimes slowness is lack of attention to the task at hand. Sometimes it is blatant rejection of your authority, disguised well enough that many of us moms never recognize it.. A good clue for me is if the child is able to do the same or similar task quickly for Daddy 😉 but not for Mommy. Again, Mommy probably needs to ACT more quickly and consistently, and talk less.
Now, I will share my biggest enemy, b/c it may be yours too. Or may help you to identify yours. Mine is being distracted; not being in the moment and mentally engaged in what’s happening (or should be happening) in my home. I have some business/computer work, some project I’m working on, something. And my focus moves from my children and the regular duties of the day that I am “trying” to establish as habit, and I start working against myself. Tearing down my house with my own hands for lack of applying wisdom to my choice of how to use my time. I once read the idea of managing your time as well as your stuff “by the box”. And every box has to have a lid. This is something I am still working on. Afternoon chore time rolls around, and I have to make myself put a lid on whatever box I’m in, and start on the things that go is that box. Then it’s time to start supper, and that box has to be closed, in order to get a timely start on supper. Otherwise everything gets messed up for the rest of the day!
And lastly, how to focus on one thing without letting everything else go to the dogs: Doing attention and obedience first, will take care of that. Like has already been said, they can’t obey if they can’t/won’t give you their attention. So, there’s no sense working on anything else until that is established. And anything else can be worked on in order to facilitate learning to pay attention. “Johnny please put your boots away neatly before you come up the steps,” takes care of the mess, and secures that habit of sloppiness doesn’t grow into a monster, while giving him practice in paying attention to what Mommy says. Ditto obedience. Obedience – perfect obedience – fixes pretty much anything…until you get to the point where you have things rolling well enough to do responsibility and personal initiative, and the like when they are older. A word of caution here though: you can easily frustrate the children by being on them all the time. So, be sure to narrow down the focus to the few most critical things and reserve some time and space where they are left alone to be children and create their own fun unhindered by Mom’s requests and instructions (masterly inactivity, anyone?).sherazParticipant
I haven’t actually used my LDTRfC yet, but have been reading/looking at it and deciding what I need to think and work on first. Each habit has a section of its own…it starts by having you read the section in LDTR on the habit you have selected. Then it wants you to write your ideas and goals in the LDTRfC that you have for this particular habit, which I think is where most of us are “stuck”. The next section contains the 12 different stories, poems, etc that you use as weekly reminders for your children as you work on this habit.
After reading Anniepeter’s post, I felt that her advice was timely. We have to ‘be’ in the moment and really, I think that is the key for habit training. It is way too easy to be involved in something else while giving haphazard instructions and that is why the kids have the habits that they do – at least in my house. Accountability is vital to the success of habit training – and so at my house, habit training is about training mom as much as the kids. I too have been reading the Managers of Their Homes and Chores…I need some different ideas about how to motivate us a bit.
I think that her idea of a journal is a great way to decide what are your habit hot spots and start there. Using the journal could help you narrow your focus down to specific goals that are needed to help make LDTRfC successful -the journal could be your thoughts and ramblings, while your LDTRfC goal entries are the refined thoughts, ideas, and inspiration for really accomplishing your intentions.
@anniepeter – thanks for the encouragement that I have received from you the last couple of days. I am almost done decluttering, painting, and simplfying our stuff, and I am starting to feel interested in planning next year and getting excited to DO the stuff we are all reading/talking about. =)
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