children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent


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The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

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Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting

Family Friday – The Price of Sparing the Rod

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When you bring a sweet little baby into your home, your last thoughts are about the time when you’ll need to correct them.  I mean, they’re so adorable and innocent when they’re little!  But those discipline days come sooner than you imagined, and you find yourself either taking up the rod and lovingly obeying Scripture, or you talk, reason, bribe and threaten until you’re sure someone will die in the process!

I can vividly remember one day with one of my daughters in which I learned a lesson the long, hard way.  She had been a “stinker” all day.  I had warned her and tried to use my words to correct her behavior  (using words as rods is just cruel!).  Late in the day I realized that I failed to obey God’s directives to take up the “rod,” and discipline her in love.  I pulled her to my lap and told her that what she was doing was sin, and that because she’d continued to disobey after my warning, I was going to have to give her a spanking because I loved her and didn’t want her to continue in her sin.  She bent over my lap and I administered the two or three swats with my little paddle.  She cried.  I cried.  I held her in my arms and we prayed that the Lord would help her obey.

Tears were wiped away and she merrily skipped on her way to continue her play.  She was so HAPPY!  Her attitude was completely transformed, as was our day!  It was as though she had been waiting for me to deal with her biblically to prove the amount of love I had for her.  

A parent who loves their child will discipline them as God disciplines us.  Over and out.  I had selfishly kept back from the training she needed.  But now, here she was, singing, playing, and happy after the loving rebuke.  She knew I loved her, and I had learned the lesson to give the correction when it was needed so we could both enjoy the child/parent relationship as God intended!

Do you find yourself frustrated as the parent of a young child?  Have you obeyed God’s Word and lovingly administered discipline?  It’s God’s way, and if used lovingly and consistently, will produce the results of leading a child to recognize their sin, and their need to repent – both to God and their parents.  Stop the frustration, and obey so your child can do the same!

Don’t lose heart; train your children with love and your relationship will be refreshed in unbelievable ways!

I read this article this week that was excellent.  I pray it will encourage you as a parent!


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Loving Training VS. Unfair Cruelty

Family Camps and Family sermons are a blessing for a mom who is hungry to do things God’s way! I can remember times when after attending Family Camp, I’d come home all fired up and ready to set my girls on the straight and narrow path of discipline. Yes sir, we were going to have an organized, happy, well-run home now! So I’d get out my notes from the sermon on Child Discipline and I’d begin to apply the rules, and the loving discipline that came as a result of not obeying Mommy. Wow! What a change! My daughters knew their limitations, what was expected, and what would happen if they chose to disobey. I learned that children want to know where the boundaries are. It made our girls feel loved and safe.  It made them happy, and it made their parents happy! That is until…

A tiring day would set in. Maybe it started because I had a migraine the night before and got little sleep. Maybe we’d had a busy day, and everyone was worn out…especially Mom. One of the girls would “cross the line” and do one of the “Taboo” things they were recently taught not to do, and in my weariness I’d overlook it. I’d excuse it for one reason or another. Then not long thereafter, she’d add another “taboo” action or response, and she knew it, and so did I, but in my weariness I’d reason, “don’t we all have bad days now and then, for goodness sake?”

On and on this would continue, until finally Mom had had ENOUGH. The proverbial tea kettle boiled over and Katie bar the door, this child was in BIG TROUBLE! Discipline was given, but in anger and frustration, rather than loving correction. How unfair. How cruel of me. The only thing I taught my child in moments like those was to be afraid of Mom!

It was time for Mom to go to school and learn some parenting Math:

Discipline + Consistency = Loving Training


Discipline – Consistency = Unfair Cruelty

This equation is true in every area of parenting.  We learn this from our heavenly Father. God is a just God.  He’s immutable (never changing). He loves us enough to consistently discipline and correct every time we disobey.

Last week I gave some encouragement for moms who desire to train their children to sit in church. I heard through the grapevine that one mom read that post and then said, “I sure hope this works!” It’s no secret formula, for sure, it’s just doing the math problem above, adding discipline with consistency in order to lovingly train your child to sit quietly in church. It takes time, it takes patience, but probably the most important ingredient is the consistency! 

When you’re doing the training at home on your couch, if you overlook him getting down a couple times because he “needed his blankie,” or “he wanted his other sippie cup,” you are headed for nothing but frustration. It’s essential that what you expect from your child you adhere to each and every single time. Without that consistency, your child won’t know what’s really expected. They will be confused. One day you correct him for getting down or throwing a fit, the next day, you overlook it. Then when you’re sitting in church and he decides to take a trip down the aisle during the sermon, you’re now embarrassed by his actions, and you chase him down, snatch him up in anger, and storm out of the service. How unfair and cruel.

On my inconsistent days with my daughters, when I finally got back on track and followed through with the loving training, you know what happened? The strife was gone from our home! The Tea Kettle settled down, and my child was once again happy! Yes, even after being corrected. Love your child enough to be consistent with him. It’s the loving training that will bring glory to God and peace in your home and hearts!

When do you find it hardest to be consistent in child-training?

With love,