Tuesday, March 03, 2009

3 Key Elements in Nurturing Your Children

Training children is something a mom never gets a break from. It's often from sun up until sun down and one of the aspects very important to training your children is to nurture them.

I believe there are three key elements important for a mom to do when she nurtures her children.

# 1. Food
A very important element in nurturing your children is to feed them well. Children need nutritious and regular meal and snack times to keep them happy and healthy. If your child seems extra cranky or incorrigible it could be because he's hungry or because he's had too much sugar?

# 2 Sleep
Everyone needs the right amount of sleep and children need more than we think. Making sleep and those "quiet times" important are a key way to nurture your children. Not putting little ones to bed at the same time (as best as possible) and early enough (to provide the ten plus hours of sleep needed each night) is simply asking for trouble during the day.

Poor sleep habits for adults and children are hard to break but oh so necessary to do. Nurture your little one by being the authority over them and give them sleep. I like to recommend that little ones be in bed by 7:30 each night.

Their bedrooms should have all stimulus removed except perhaps for some soft "night night" music. There be no TV and in my opinion there should not be any light left on IN the room. If you've done that, take steps to change that. If night fears are an issue, then try putting a light on in a hallway. And always pray with your child before putting them to bed.

For "night night" music all of our grand kids have used soft and soothing music to fall asleep with. Twila Paris had a great one called Bedtime Lullabies and Prayers.

Not only those regular sleep time habits need to be established, but also daily nap times and daily quiet times.

Quiet times are those scheduled alone room times. All my grand kids love their room time. It makes for some creative play – alone. It’s good for kids to learn to share with others and it’s equally good for them to learn how to play and be creative while being alone. A starting place for toddlers could be a good fifteen minutes. Set a timer so they know when the time is up.

# 3 Training
A child left to himself will be shame to his mother. A mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. (Proverbs 29:15) Sensible children bring joy to their father: foolish children despise their mother (Proverbs 15: 20)

Like all of us, we need correction and children need a lot of that. Children are desperate to be trained. They're miserable and make everyone around them miserable without being trained.

When you think of training, don't think of it as simply addressing the outward behavior but think of it in regards to your little one's heart.

You're training their heart - to be obedient, respect authority, learn to care for and serve others and learn to be thankful. We were born with NONE OF THIS. It is a training process - a process of being pruned.

As a Nana, one thing I love to do is bring my little grandkiddo munchkins in the garden with me. There's lots of training and education that goes on there.

Moms - Be Encouraged
It's easy for moms to become overwhelmed, weary and discouraged in the constant and consistent training of children. Think of training as pruning and taking care of a little garden. Sometimes you pull the weeds, other times you plant seeds and on some days you simply water. And other days you simply stand back and enjoy the fruit.

What does a mom prune and train?
One of the first thing a mom prunes are bad attitudes. When a mom gently (not with an angry or a volume 3 voice) instructs her little one to do something – the command should be obeyed with a HAPPY attitude - IMMEDIATELY - and ALL THE WAY.

If a little one takes their sweet little ol' time to respond and obey it means they are deciding if what you've just said is to be obeyed.

Believe it or not - there's an attitude brewing and that's a bad one. If obedience isn't immediate with a happy heart and all the way, then a heart issue needs to be addressed.

Jesus addressed the Pharisees by saying that they all the right things on the outside but their hearts were evil.

Children won't automatically be happy with an instruction you give them. They have to be trained with love and gentleness and all throughout the day. Don't be alarmed or get too discouraged when it takes time to give that instruction, correction and subsequent consequences over and over in any given day. Little ones are known to have rebellious hearts (just like big people) and need to learn the joy of making good choices to receive a more delightful consequence.

What are other ways you nurture your children? What books do you read to your children? What does your "play time" look like with your child?

Related Posts
1. Plan and Prepare Well - Understand Your Margins
2. What Fathers Teach Their Children
3. Moms and Sleep Deprivation
4. My Garden Helper
5. Little Garden Girl & Her Mom

Related Helps
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6HappyHearts said...

I love this book too! I heard Ginger Plowman speak at a conference & she was very insightful! Her chart for behavior, scripture & training is a wonderful tool.

Lylah said...

Oh and with your 6 little ones I know you love her chart! Thanks for stopping by!

DotBlogger said...

Beautiful post. Truely. I believe every word of it. :)

Have you read Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp?
Super duper awesome.

Youthful One said...

I agree wholeheartedly.
And thanks for the reminder.

My biggest issue is consistency. In all things.

(FYI, I'm expecting baby #6.)
Some days, I may forget they haven't had snacks or enough to eat and come down hard on their attitudes. Some days, we are running around so much I believe the lie, "Oh, they need to learn flexibility," and don't emphasize nap or rest time.
Some days, I am too self-absorbed or lazy to follow through on a delayed response or grumpy response to an instruction.

The peaceful fruit of righteousness in your example (and DotBlogger's, who is a personal friend IRL, btw) is an encouragement to me to stick with it.

I echo DotBlogger's recommendation on Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart.

I'll look into Ginger Plowman's book, as I haven't heard of it before.

P.S. In case I haven't said this before, I find so much encouragement in your posts. Thank you.

Johanne said...

Nice advice. Love the quotes from Proverbs. I always smile when people upload Christian values.