Practice Makes Perfect

Do your children have habits that absolutely drive you nuts?  I’m not talking personality.  I’m talking about things that they do that make you want to tear out your hair.  Mine do and I imagine they are not the only children on earth with “issues.”

I wonder, what do you do when your children do their “thing” that sends you through the roof?  Do you get frustrated and yell at them?  Do you just give up and take care of the problem yourself while grumbling under your breath? 

I’ll let you in on some of the things that go on in my home and maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.  My children slam doors, never seem to be able to hang up their towels after they bathe themselves and I always find jackets on the floor right under the hook they are supposed to hang on.  I’ve also been driven batty by children who just don’t seem to know how to get in and out of the car.

It is in these moments when I think I’m going to blow a gasket that I think to myself, “Hmm…have I ever taught my children how to do these things? Have I ever given them practice at doing it right?”  That’s when I decide to stop harping and begin to do some training.

I remember the time that I tired of picking up damp towels.  In order to teach my children how to hang them up on their own, I began taking all of their towels all over the house and dumping them in various locations.  I called them all together, explained what we were going to practice and showed them the skill of hanging a towel without it falling to the ground immediately.  We did this skill practice over and over again for about 20 minutes.  Lesson taught and now it’s not so much a headache anymore.

There was also the time that The Driver was losing patience with slamming doors (especially our back door that slams as the kids run out to the backyard).  The next day while The Driver was at work, I decided to take the bull by the horns and made this a skill we practiced.  In, out, in, out, in, out–with no slamming.  A little training did the trick.

Having the kids practice hanging up their jackets was similar to the towel escapade, but I’ll never forget (and neither will my children) the evening we dedicated to training them how to enter and exit the car.  We showed them what we wanted it to look like and they were required to file in, in a specific order, get in their seats and to put on thier seatbelt.  Once I gave the signal, they reversed what they had just done.  No whining and fighting about who was first.  No dancing around the car until I barked at them to get in their seat.  No child left without their seatbelt done.  No frustrated Mommy.  It was simply in and out until it was understood what was expected.
For the most part, I don’t have problems with these issues I’ve trained my kids on, but every once in a while they just need a little reminder.  Like at the beginning of every summer when they start running in out out of the backyard.  Just a simple reminder training session about slamming doors and we’re good to go.  Same for the jackets when the weather turns cold.

By now, they also understand that when we do these times of training, the longer they fool around, the longer we will continue the training.  So by now, if there are any new things that come up, they know to focus on what I’m teaching and they’ll be done a lot quicker!

So I ask you again, what are some of those things your kids do that drive you crazy?  Maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you’ve ever shown them what you want and given them time to practice it over and over until they get it right.  It’s not hard.  It just takes time.  Time that will save you a lot of headaches later in the game.


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