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Toddlers & Preschoolers…”training them in the way they should go”!

These are suggestions that worked for me…


  • Personal devotions vital for success! To see myself through this journey (parenting, motherhood), I had to know for sure … I was ordained and called by God to have children and make disciples of each, God would be with me and give me direction every step of the way.  My first obligation was to be a disciple of Christ before I could disciple my children. This meant putting prayer, the Word, and walking in the Spirit by faith priority in my daily routine.
  • Rest time for me and the children! After lunch and reading a story aloud, I would put the children down for a nap or quiet time from 1-3pm every day on separate mats, beds, or rugs. They could read or play quietly but they were not allowed to make a sound or get up except for an emergency.
  • Create a safe setting that fosters play, creativity, and learning! I had a room (the dining room) especially set up as a play room/ school room with low lying shelves for boxes, buckets or baskets of specific  toys (blocks, dress up, puzzles, play house,  matchbox cars, picture books, etc.) with a comfy bean bag chair. There was a table and benches for them to play and work on. I also had a cabinet with a door for art supplies, play dough, paper, glue, paint, scissors, popcycle sticks, colors, markers, etc. I would use for supervise play only. The garage or carport,  full of scooters, & tricycles & 3 wheelers, was used  for inside play during bad weather; for good weather there was a fenced yard with swings, slides, climbers, covered sandbox (to keep critters out), etc..
  • Children are not allies! God reminded me that as a parent…I am a type of Moses (called by God to lead the Israelites to the promise land) and my children are like the Israelites (who complained, rebelled, in fact wanted to kill and stone Moses,  and  go back to Egypt and slavery, and were jealous and doubted my power and position, etc.). So He warned me that my children will not be cooperative in this journey and that I must lean on Him.
  • Be a parent centered /controlled home, not child centered! I found it helpful to ask myself continuously…Am I in control of this situation or is my child?  Is this a parent centered home or child centered home? In a parent centered home…the parent knows that God has given them the responsibility of teaching and training the child the way he should live… this means the parent knows what is best for the child… what, how, when, where, why  to dress, play, sleep, bathe, eat, watch, read, listen, learn, work, etc..  The parent needs to let the child know the parent is in control, because God said so. If the parents let God be in control of their life, in control of the parent so they can trust you to do what is right and good for them. Children want and need to know their parents are in control. This is how they feel loved and secure. In fact a child that is or thinks he is in control of his life is miserable and becomes a self centered… brat!
  • Be a strong chord of 3! Be in unity and one with your spouse, and God because this is true, “a house divided can not stand.” Even toddlers can pick up when there is discord in the home.  Maintain a oneness in marriage by participating in …church, prayer, devotion, date nights, fellowship with other believers, couples Bible study, &  good communication.
  • Do not ask them…tell them! Do not ask …what they want to eat?, do they want to go to bed?, what show or movie to watch?, what do they want to play with?, what do they want to wear?… All these questions confuse the child and they will not be able to make the good choices such as cookie or spinach for lunch? You, as the parent, should know what they need. Wait till their teenagers and then give them choices. You are the Moses in your home….ordained by God with the direction to how to get to the promise land. They may want to grumble or even stone you…but stand firm!
  • Serving others will keep them from being self focused! Once a week…be involved with extended family life…grandparents, cousins, siblings, etc.; visit the elderly & play simple games together, teach  children to share by giving quarter earned to church or give surplus clothes & toys to needy, write a card to those sick, fix a meal, pray with, cleaning. It is especially important that they see you doing these things!
  • Do something fun as a family with friends! At least once a week…Go to the park, field trip, library, arts or crafts, nature walk, sports, play at home, backyard BBQ, share, or other.
  • Teach and train them first! to love God and His Word; Worship God; PRAY-Praise Repent AskYield, obey the Bible & parents, use Scripture to determine right from wrong; walk by faith in the Spirit not in the flesh (repent & ask God for help).
  • Use the principle of “sowing and reaping” by rewarding good deeds and attitudes and disciplining bad deeds and attitudes like …I am not going to answer you when you whine; must say please and thank you; If you touch this …, I will spank you with this spoon; you must pick up your toys before …; you finished your spinach so you can have …. If a dog can obey his master, so can they!
  • Anger does not accomplish anything good! Watch your facial expression, voice tone, and what you say! Repent when you do it wrong!
  • Be a good example! Walk in Spirit, truth, and love at all times…. When you sin make sure to confess it and do what is right. Forgive offenses immediately. Teach them to do the same.
  • Do what is good and right for them no matter what..
    1. Eat nutritional good foods daily…vege, grains, fruit, dairy, protein…no sugars except on special occasion, and only drink water;
    2. Do not let them watch too much TV or play on media (at most 1 hr per day…1/2 hour each time)  and it must be morally good (no violence, no anger, no calling names, no rebelliousness, no cursing, etc.).
    3. Dress modest & moderate at all times…don’t dress them in bikinis or too tight or baggy pants when young unless you want them in bikinis or tight shorts when they are older.
    4. Pretend, but don’t lie! You will regret teaching your children to believe in  Santa Claus, Easter bunny, Superman, etc. are real or that babies come from starks! The truth spoken in love & Spirit at the right appropriate timing is always best.
  • Boundaries are vital… physical boundaries give them security and safety, like a fence in the back yard, play pen in home, baby gate in room, rug in a specific space, high chair at the table, stroller in a busy mall or street,  life jacket while swimming; quiet in church, no begging at the store, no stomping & temper tantrums to get your way, no saying no to parents unless it is a question. None of these scenarios are acceptable & immediate response must take place… isolate for few minutes (use timer if necessary); teach them to repent (say I am sorry to God & offender, thank Jesus for forgiving that sin, do what is right, & ask for power from Holy Spirit,); practice role playing what & how they should do action correctly (repeat until they get it right).
  • Shoot your arrows at the bulls eye! Someone once told me that if I shoot my arrows at nothing that is what I will get, NOTHING. Setting goals every year is a must do if you want to be successful. Can you imagine a business not setting goals for itself? Some goals to start with…Physical goals… eat good nutrition,  sleep well, exercise, drink water, brush and floss daily, dress properly, etc.; Spiritual goals… memorize scripture, read and study Bible, PRAY, worship, serve others, walk in the Spirit, etc.; Mental goals…study God’s creation, His story, love good literature, train life skills, good friendships, etc.
  • Have a specific plan or schedule for every person in your household! Something like this…
    1. Breakfast…egg, whole grain toast/hot cereal (oatmeal, etc.), orange or cantaloupe
    2. Hygiene…brush hair & teeth, wash face, and dress appropriately
    3. Duties…Help clean house or room … a simple duty like picking up after yourself before doing something else.
    4. Worship…music & march with pots & pans around the house
    5. Bible…tell Bible story using puppets, markerboard, felt, etc. (let them retell or draw, etc.)
    6. Learn Scripture memory from Bible story
    7. Learning center time… numbers, colors, shapes, nature study, community workers, etc.
    8. Playtime… inside (games, dress up, blocks, coloring) or outside (games, hikes, climber, etc.)
    9. Lunch…turkey or tuna sandwich, apple, carrot/celery sticks & dressing
    10. Read good book aloud to them & give them picture books to read on their own.
    11. Nap (1-3pm no later or they will not get to sleep at nite)
    12. Snack…peanut butter & banana & graham cracker
    13. Field Trip… Library, park, visit neighbor or friend, zoo, nature walk (Do this with others & train infants, toddlers to stay in strollers even for a nap)
    14. Playtime… inside -games, dress up, blocks, coloring or outside -games, hikes, bikes, etc.
    15. Duties…Help clean house before Dad gets home
    16. Fix supper…children watch good DVD (Vege Tales, Bible Storytime) while you fix hot cooked meal (crockpot great)
    17. Supper time… protein, whole grain, veges, healthy  dessert, etc.
    18. Play time with Dad while you clean & pick up supper
    19. Bathe & put on clean outfit  before put in bed (keeps germs & sickness away)
    20. Listen to Odessey, taped Bible story, etc.; blessing & prayers before bed.
  • People love to be around grateful children… so train them to have manners & say thank you & please, greet people with eye contact, & appropirat hug or kiss.

Truly “children are a blessing from the Lord”, but they need to be “trained in the way they should go”. A wild vine; if left to tend on its own, will grow to be a harm to other plants & everything around them. It will eventually have to be pruned / disciplined or risk future destruction. What a privilege it is to be used by God in such an enormous task as parenting. I love Dr. Dobson’s book title…”Parenting is not for Cowards”; this is so true!

Prayer… Lord give us… wisdom, courage, power, & love to “train children in the way they should go”.

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