Hello everyone! I am so excited to begin implimenting CM methods and to have the support of Simply Charlotte Mason site!
My girls are 10 and 11 and I have let them slip into some bad habits. They have been leaving things laying around and I’m getting so tired of calling them on many occasions to come and collect their things to be put away. It could be anything from socks on the floor left behind in the living room to their camera left in the kitchen where they were last taking pictures. I am sure they are getting tired of me nagging them too. Any advice?
Something that has worked in our family in the past and needs to come out again 😕 is The Redemption Box. This is just a box of whatever size needed where my husband and I drop off everything of the kid’s that we pick up – toys, clothes, drawings, books, money, whatever. At the end of the week or every other week, we take it out of the closet and the kids can buy back the items that they want for 5 – 10 cents per item (you may need higher prices if your kids have more pocket money). After a few weeks, if it isn’t “redeemed”, it gets donated to our local World Relief organization that resettles refuges or thrown away. This has meant no more nagging from us, we just pick it up and drop it in. When the kids say, “Mommy, have you seen my…?” I just tell them we’ll have to wait and see what’s in the Box at the end of the week. They fuss a bit, but I remind them that I am not a maid or a vending machine that gives them what they want, when they want it, for free. Many times things will go unclaimed for several weeks and can be given away unnoticed. It just goes to show how much “stuff” we all have.
Hope this idea will at least get the ideas flowing.
The book Laying Down Rails..on this site is very good and informative on how to help our children start and continue the habits we train them for. The problem is normally us as mom’s don’t follow through and train our children long enough to make it an established habit.
I know for me trying to focus on just one habit and sticking with it would do wonders in training my children for the long haul. So I encouarge you to start with one of the habits you want your children to learn and then focus on that one until it is firmly established.
I highly recommend buying the Habits book I mentioned in the beginning. It is a great resource to encourage and motive us in this process of training.
You may have already seen this post, but just in case, here is an explanation of why Charlotte said nagging doesn’t work. That post is part of a series on habits in our blog that may give you more ideas.
I think habit-training is an ongoing challenge for all of us.
Great idea, Christie!
I forgot to mention Laying Down the Rails. I love it!
Thnak you all for your feedback!
I have invested in ‘Laying Down the Rails’ book and DVD and I am also trying to read through the wealth of information on this site… I am feeling a bit overwhelmed but I am trusting God as he leads me back to Charlotte Mason for our home ed journey!
I’ve read ‘why nagging doesn’t work’ and believe it whole heartedly!! LOL My problem is our children have so many years of ‘bad habit grooves’ in their brain. (Honestly- so do hubby and I). Any suggestions on delayed implementation of laying down the rails?
One principle that really helps me is to concentrate on replacing a bad habit rather than eliminating a bad habit. If I think about emphasizing the good habit that I want instead of the bad one, somehow that makes the process seem less depressing and daunting, you know?
So which good habits do you want to instill to replace the bad ones?
How wise! Sometimes I feel like others got my portion of common sense and wisdom when I was born!! ha ha
No, really. The list is forever long, but a main issue for us right now is complaining (mostly about school work). I feel like I’ve taught (using words) all I can on this topic and now I need to quit teaching with words and use actions. I just don’t know what actions to take that are firm but fair.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
As I was considering this about a year ago, I thought about how overwhelming training can be, especially for those of us who ‘didn’t get it right the first time.’ I decided that we would go about the training and retraining according to our daily schedule and in the order that stressed me out the most 😉 . So, first we worked on the time between getting up and getting breakfast. Then I selected the before dinner time, then the getting home time, and so forth. After the training is complete, we move to consequence/reward.
It has been helpful for me, who wants everything accomplished immediately, to develop the self-control to let some things slide while I focus on one time period.
MJ, as for complaining, I have to constantly examine myself on that one before I can instruct the children. I can even give a ‘look’ to my husband that has complaining all over it, so I find I must be especially careful to be a good example to my children. Then there is the inventory that needs to be done regarding whether the complaint is valid.
If all of the above checks out I will typically say something to the complainer like, “I know it’s hard. What do you think God is doing in your life right now that He would allow this stuff to be a part of it?” (We tend towards direct in our home.) Then we discuss it and apply Romans 1 and *choose* to be thankful and *choose* to honor God. I tell my children that it really is okay to tell God, “I’m not happy about this, but I’m thankful for___ and I’m going to choose to honor you in it by ___.”
If this does not bring the child around, I will then tell them that I love them and want the best for them and so I’m going to obey God’s word and put a contentious mouth far from me and so they can go do a chore and their school work will be waiting for them when they are done.
Cindy, when you were focusing on ‘time sections’ of the day (such as the time between getting up and getting breakfast) how did you decide what things you “let slide” until that time period became habit? Do you mean schoolwork other than the basic 3R’s or housework and that sort of thing? I’d love to be courageous enough to put the bookwork aside for a time so we can focus on the attitudes of the heart, but there’s this nagging in my brain that says “How are you going to get your legally required academic hours in if you do that?” KNOWING full well that we could accomplish a lot more with a teachable spirit. I get really frustrated having to report “academic hours”–I guess I need to think outside the box and get creative on what can be truly counted as academic.
Thanks for your words of wisdom.
Letting things slide for us means that I did not make any changes in other areas while working on one area. The only thing I did change was their free time. That means that, while working on the morning routine, we take as long as it takes to get it right. I have an hour in my schedule for all of us to accomplish our ‘Before Breakfasts.’ That is more than enough time. However, during training, if it takes longer, it takes longer. We want to learn to get it right. That just pushes back our schedule and the extra time comes off of free time. That puts them in a position of ‘earning’ their free time by having diligence early in the morning and it keeps me calm as I do not feel like I’m racing against the clock. The other thing I did was give a pep talk to set the stage of us all learning something as a family. This was not punishment, this was just a learning curve and we’d all go with it. It helps, too, for them to know that Mom’s free time is shortened as well; we’re all making an investment.
Thanks for sharing Cindy! I think I get overzealous about what we can accomplish and push too hard instead of being realistic and patient during the learning time.
I appreciate you taking the time to mentor!!
Cindy, I would love to give you a big hug! You wrote something that I REALLY needed to hear today. Thank you!
May the good Lord bless you richly!
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