[My current challenge:]
Over the weekend I had an absolutely horrible day with my 7ds – On Saturday afternoon he had a total meltdown where he just could not, would not focus on anything. When I suggested, or even told, of an activity we had disobedience to deal with. This was so extreme it really was a red flag waving for me. It was like the last straw – things have been building to this point for sometime. Then the evening came he decided to bounce (literally) all over the furniture while we were watching a video. Think of Tigger in Pooh Bear – this was Daniel!! What is going on?
Parenting children of various ages always becomes tricky and you have to be on the ball so that the older ones don’t get left at the younger one’s level and that the younger ones don’t get swooped up into the older one’s level. I believe this is what has happened in our house.
I have been aware for a long time that Daniel, due to various factors in his life, is not where I would like a 7yo to be morally – now I know that each child is different and that each child needs to walk their own developmental path but as the child’s mother I also know how much training has been put in to bring him to a level of functioning – and I know that there should have been more. More could be expected of him.
This is the point I got to over the weekend. You cannot expect behaviour or moral understanding from a child without teaching and training in that moral standard. Now is the time for Daniel to have some intense training in these pivotal, oh so important areas in his life such as self-control, obedience and focus.
First step is his routine. As I said before the younger ones can get swooped up into the areas of the older ones and our family routine is one of these issues. Over the last few years I have moved into big blocks of time for our routine. Simply put – Daniel isn’t ready (self control, focus) for big blocks of time. Lately he has been given a lot of free time and as I saw on the weekend he is not really able to make wise choices given that free time. This has always been my benchmark for giving freedom of choice when it comes to how we spend those “free” hours so this has to change for Daniel.
I have rearranged our routine – with the focus to get Daniel a regular, consistent, across the week routine.
I started by having a good look at our existing routine and found the places that Daniel had too much freedom of choice. I split these blocks into ½ hour blocks, as I believe if he is kept busy he can do ½ hour focus (Room time will be a training challenge as he doesn’t like to be away from people but we will work on it). I then looked for the best times for me to do activities with him, keeping in mind that I wanted most of his time slots to be consistent during the week. I slowly built up his routine filling in my choices as we went.
My priorities were
- What we did as a family
- What was already established routine and that was working
- Time slots where I was needed for his lessons (such as FIAR, Projects)
- Time slots where his activities were predominately independent.
For these independent activities I looked at the resources I had (there are plenty of activity based websites and library books you could use should you not have these types of books). I gathered all these good stuff books that had activities to suit his age, ability and interest. There was a TV Free Activity book, drawing book, Relief Teachers Activity book, Technology programme, creative art book, nature experiments book etc. I divided these books into categories – Exercise, Table time, Art time, Project time, etc until I had the same number of categories to match my daily empty blocks. I then labelled those blocks of time to match my categories.
I also worked on the weekend routine though the time blocks differ from Monday to Friday – the process was the same though I did use different resource categories.
I was excited about this step of using the resources on my shelf – not because of good stewardship but because this is the step that I have floundered with when I have tried to write up a routine for Daniel in the past. Because his focus and self-control levels are at say a 5yo level then I tend to choose activities that match a 5yo. But of course, his brain is a 7yo brain and he gets bored with these preschool activities. This time round I have chosen activities that suit a 7yo and will be expecting to train him to bring his abilities up to this level.
I am excited about how this routine has come together. I believe the activities are the right activities for him though I also believe that it is really all about training. Training isn’t just getting a routine pulled together – that is just the tool – the real training comes Monday to Friday, through to Sunday when we have a conflict of wills – where he just doesn’t want to do what I want him to do, where he wants to be sloppy in his work, where he wants to watch TV. This is where it really comes down to… what am I going to do then.
This is where obedience training comes into it and briefly stated…. This is what he needs to do, if he doesn’t want to be obedient he will be going to his room to consider his disobedient heart and to come to a place where he wants to be obedient. He will then be able to come and talk to me about it and we will move on. This is such a brief paragraph on this side of training and I am writing it just to say that the answer isn’t in the routine, the answer is in the instruction, the follow through with consequences, the forgiveness when he does wrong and the continued training and expecting him to rise to a level of obedience. The routine is just my first step to set about him all that he needs to learn these lessons of self-control, focus and obedience.