Reminding our children would have to be one of the most exhausting things that parents do and yet if we were to train our children to be responsible for these things themselves we could save ourselves the effort! One of the things that I want to train my children in this year is to be aware of the times connected to their commitments.

We have a few key times in our day that our routine hangs from
6.00am waking up
8.00am family devotions
12.30pm lunch
5.00pm chore times

These key times have been in our home for a very long time and now is the time for the children to start being aware of the clock in their activities and to develop the self control to stop what they are enjoying and move onto the next commitment they may have.

As I have thought about this I have broken down the training steps (each step may take a period of time in training)

  1. Make sure each child is aware of their time commitments
  2. Stop reminding them. There are two aspects of reminding my children – one, is of the time, and the other of the activity. They know the activity – they need training to be made aware of the time, so for the first while I’ll just remind them of the time – help them to become aware of the clock, and let them remember the activity. Eventually I’ll stop reminding of them of the time, expecting them to be aware of the time and activities they need to move onto.
  3. Have consequences – once they are aware of both activity and time commitments and I stop reminding them, I need to have consequences in place for when they don’t move from one activity to the next in an appropriate, timely manner – these should be a natural consequence from missing the time.

Of course there is a bigger issue at stake here – punctuality and integrity. When we say we’ll do something we need to make sure that we do it. When I see these key times as commitments that I’ve made to my family then I am more likely to be punctual, just as I am with an appointment I make with the dentist or hairdresser. This builds a habit of integrity – being true to your word. My children need to start these habits here in our home so that when they are responsible for bigger commitments than having lunch on time they won’t let themselves down or other people.

Disclaimer: I always get nervous talking about times in our routine because for those who have read my blog for a while they will have heard me say I don’t live by the clock and yet reality is we do have these key times from which flexibility then hangs. The other point is, when I say we have lunch at 12.30 and I want the kids to be aware of that without me reminding them, I am not talking about on-the-dot military style – but just a general awareness and appreciation that time is ticking by and they have certain things to do.

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