It is always advantageous if our kids’ obedience is a choice on their part:
4 year old Susie: “I don’t want to eat the rest of my sandwich.”
Mom: “OK. You can finish your sandwich or eat it later and go take you nap right now. Your choice.”
4 year old Susie: “But I wanted you to read to me before nap.”
Mom: “I want to read to you too. You decide. Sandwich or bed?”
4 year old Susie: “Yes, I want to finish my sandwich.”
We all make choices and we appreciate our lives so much more if the life we are living is by our choice. As parents, we can get submission by force or by their choice. It’s so much sweeter if our kids obey by choice. If we can encourage them to do so, the better.
Mom: “Get back in bed.”
6 year old Charlie: “I want a drink of water.”
Mom: “Go to sleep, you already had water.”
6 year old Charlie: “Mom, Johnny is snoooorrrring!”
Mom: “Be quiet or you will wake your brother!”
(Morning) 6 year old Charlie: “Mom, why does Johnny get to watch cartoons and I don’t?”
Mom: “Johnny is in the Super Sleeper club. He went to bed, stayed in bed and went to sleep last night like he was told. You didn’t.”
(Night) 6 year old Charlie: “Mom, I’m going to bed tonight and I will stay in bed and go to sleep so I can be in the Super Sleeper club.”
Get to know your child. Consider their sleep schedule. Know how much sleep your child needs and keep a consistent bed time. Don’t use this to keep your kids in bed out of convenience. Use it to meet their needs, establish your authority, and teach them good habits of obedience.
Use Positive Reinforcement
To help you along, I’ve made a Super Sleeper Club poster for your fridge.
Click on the Super Sleeper poster below and I will send you a full resolution JPG that you can get printed and laminated. Use a wipe off marker to write your kids’ name on it when they are a super sleeper – when they choose to be obedient at bed time.
When Positive Reinforcement Doesn’t Work
Some parents whether by birth or adoption will have children who do not respond to positive reinforcement. There will be times you must allow consequences to teach them or use discipline to correct bad behaviors.
Difficulties ≠ Bad Parenting
I wish I could say I always got results with positive reinforcement. But the reality is all kids are different. Some have had past experiences that color their responses. Some have learning difficulties. Some are stubborn and difficult. There is a marked difference in children’s learning styles and abilities. Do your best to learn them and go from there.
God only expects us to be faithful – to do our best. He alone can change their hearts. It’s our job to present situations to our kids to help them choose correctly. Click here to download the FREE poster.
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