Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

“d” is for dragonfly, “d” is for discipline

on May 24, 2012

Disciplining Through Work Brings Joy

Why does my son whine so much?? Spankings and timeouts have been effective for other misbehaviors, but seem to have little effect on whininess. I was praying for guidance and searching my heart for answers. Then I found this article (I highly recommend reading it!) which presented a slightly new slant on discipline, and I thought aha, WORK the whine out of him. Funny, I had been feeling it was time to balance out Noah’s play to workload ratio around here anyway (thanks Holy Spirit). Dean and I have noticed that his imagination while playing has taken off lately, and his pretending skills have made a developmental jump. He is getting so good at playing; he is getting more done in less time, so to speak, during his play hours. So now my intuition (ie spirit) is telling me that its also time to increase the work he does to help around the house in order to keep him balanced. Ever so often I get this tugging inside that tells me its time to bring Noah to another level of maturity by adding to his chores. To begin with, when Noah was little, work was all pretend work, pretending to vacuum like mommy or rake like daddy, but after awhile kids lose interest in pretending if it doesn’t turn into the real thing. Pretending is great still, but why keep it at a pretend level when a child is showing that they are highly interested in getting to work? The first time I felt the tugging inside to get Noah to work was when he was two and a half, and that is when he started washing his own plate after a meal. Now he is able to wash the whole family’s plates! And little Faithy suddenly snaps out of being cranky before dinner when I ask her to help set the table. Young children feel honored to be useful to others, and some crankiness can be averted by making them feel useful to their family.

Dean and I are both huge on teaching work ethic, and work, in a sense, is celebrated in our household, heralded higher than the value of play. Our kids, and most little kids, have oodles upon oodles of playtime; they suffer not for recreational time. What most of us need to consider is: are our children receiving the proper amount of time spent doing chores? Not so much as to crush their fun loving spirits by overburdening them, but placing the proper weight of responsiblity to keep them growing. Working into them a Godly attitude of servanthood, shaping them through the weight of work, just as muscles are toned and strengthened by lifting weights.

After reading the awesome article about discipline mentioned above, I immediately had a chance to implement work as a form of discipline. One afternoon, as Noah was playing himself silly, he wasn’t doing anything wrong that I could pinpoint, but I had a feeling that whininess and a bit of ingratitude or entitlement were creeping in. Plus, Dean and I happened to be slaving away to get the house back in order after a fun weekend, and it just didn’t feel right that Noah was not participating in the work. When I asked Noah to do one small thing and was met with resistance, I decided it was time to put that attitude to work. So we had him put away a mountain of laundry with Daddy, and when I checked in with Daddy to see how good of a job Noah was doing, I decided a little more work was in order. He vacuumed in the kitchen and put toys away. Eventually I was pleased to feel a peaceful atmosphere and pleasant shift of attitude in Noah return when all was said and done. Work works! What an effective hands on lesson about disciplining for mommy!

Mommy, Teach Me is a really awesome book about teaching your preschooler at home with a Montessori perspective. I just love what Barbara Curtis has to say about young children and serving at home, “The sensitive period for serving others–which in the life of a believer will later be translated into serving God–is in the preschool years. Remember what that means: if the environment provides appropriate encouragement and direction during those years, the child will learn to serve with joy, but if the environment or caregivers thwart the preschooler’s natural desire, any later attempt to make the child “learn” to serve will meet with resistance. Serving will not be fun, but something the child will want to avoid.” If you haven’t realized it by now ya’ll, I am screaming the message across this blog, “PRESCHOOL YEARS ARE AN INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE WINDOW OF TIME TO LEARN AT HOME!” Just today I read in a New York Times archived article, “Indeed, a 4-year-old’s brain uses more energy than it ever will again. Brain development cannot be put on pause, so the critical question is how to provide the best possible context to support it.” What an incredible time in life: to be raising a preschooler!!! Praise God it is never dull, and not a time to save parental investments for later.

Home is where we teach our children to serve. Preschool outside the home can only offer very limited and artificially structured ways to be helpers, but at home you can make work an awesome life shaping part of your daily routines. There is indeed much joy to be found in daily work! If we are joyful about it, our kids will never grow out of finding the joy in it.

I’d love to know what your preschooler helps out with around the house to give me more ideas for Noah (ie leave a comment!! :)). Here is what Noah does at our house to give you some ideas (none are done on a daily basis yet).

Washes dishes

Vaccuums the food explosion under the table

Sets the table/Clears the table

Helps put me put away everyone’s laundry

Tidies the house

Feeds Faith

We Caught Our Garden Cross Dragonfly!

Small miracles do happen here everyday

Dragonfly observation on “d” is for dragonfly week

Our New Favorite Game: Butterflies

“It” is the “netter”; the cross is base, a safe place for butterflies to land

Noah “taking care of  bunny” charmed me

He really didn’t want bunny to be caught by the netter (perhaps because we have been reading the Peter Rabbit series a lot lately).

Gabby’s “d” for dragonfly handwriting

Very Hungry Caterpillar Art


5 responses to ““d” is for dragonfly, “d” is for discipline

  1. Tara Hannon says:

    Roman has loved rinsing dishes since he could barely stand on a chair. He’s also the supreme “clutter-destroyer” for the whole house right before I vacuum. He loves to put dirty laundry in the hamper, add laundry to the machine, brush Levi’s hair after a bath, and he is the best diaper and wipe finder in the house. He never fails to help Mom or Dad when we’re in the middle of a poop emergency! 🙂 I would love it if he could vacuum under the table, though. Time for a mini-vac!

  2. Tara Hannon says:

    P.S. Best laundry memory ever- Roman: (wads up shirt into tight ball and asks) “Daddy, is this how you fold clothes?” Daddy: “That’s how Daddy does it.” Mommy: “Arggh.” 😉

  3. Mary-Susan Danker-Dake says:

    Sophia helps by putting her toys away, helping me set the table and helping to rinse dishes in the sink. Yesterday she even asked me if she could help me do the dishes – Josh was already doing the dishes, so I asked her to help me put her toys away and then help getting little baby’s room organized. She loved to help! I loved reading this post. We’ve asked her to help and she’s always been helpful – but after reading your post, I decided to try getting her to help with chores when the fussies seem like they’re about to make an appearance – or already have made an appearance. Definitely works!!! Now, I’m trying to make a point of trying to get her to help with different tasks around the house so she can learn the art of serving. Great post Lynn!

    • Miss Lynn says:

      Yeah! I am so glad to hear little ones are working to help out at home! You guys are great moms with good hearts–it shouldn’t be hard for the art of serving to rub off onto your kids with you as their teachers! Congratulations on soon welcoming another little one into your family Mary-Susan!

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