Elayna was 3.
Annalise was 1.
And I had a newborn in a baby carrier.
3 under 3 in a Walmart bathroom.
I learned very quickly that I needed something quick and easy to teach my girls to keep their hands from touching everything in the bathroom.
As I thought about it, I needed something quick and easy for ALL those times that they need to keep their hands and bodies still.
A birthday party where they are NOT the birthday child and they are NOT supposed to be touching the presents...
Moms, you know the times I'm talking about.
What I discovered was that in those moments, they needed to learn self-control.
Whoa... big word for kids under 3.
But I taught it to them anyway. It is a Fruit of the Spirit and a life-long Biblical concept that can help in a million ways over their lives!
And my girls, as young as they were, caught the concept.
Today, my girls are 10, 8 and 7 and we STILL use the word "self-control" quite often.
In the early years, they learned just a few simple things about self-control:
1. Be still
2. Be quiet
3. Be aware
Those three simple things have helped us in huge ways. And as they grow older, I build on them.
We talk often about being still. We talk about being quiet. We talk about being aware of your surroundings. All great things for kids to learn.
Basically, self-control means stop what you are doing and think.
Where am I?
How should I be acting?
What are the rules?
Am I following them?
These are questions you can teach kids to ask themselves.
But... you are thinking... how does this actually work?
So, I had Abby demonstrate...
It is almost a game.
We can be in a gross bathroom (in our travels this happens a lot) or in a church foyer or walking through a meeting place and I need my girls to quickly know it is time to be quiet and keep their hands still.
They know that when mom says self-control, they need to stop moving and listen. They need to look around them. They need to think about the way they are acting.
They have to take responsibility.
Oh and it saves so much talking and yelling and repeating yourself in a stressful situation! Usually in the moments you need your kids to stop, you don't have time to explain. You just need them to quickly act.
This quick and easy self-control tip accomplishes that in a fun way for kids.
I promise. Teach them the words and the concepts before they need to use it. Say "Self-control." Watch it work!
I also am a big "parent ahead" fan. This concept is one part of parenting ahead.
What tips and tricks do you have for teaching your kids self-control?
Joy on the Journey,