If I could sum up preparing children to learn in four steps, here is what they would be:
- Order in the Home
- Respect for Others
- Parental Example
It’s true. If you can help your children master these four areas, their potential for learning will be virtually unlimited. Let’s look at each one a little closer.
Order in the Home
Planning ahead is the key to creating an orderly home environment. You can help create order by planning what should happen throughout each day, by creating places for all the clutter in your home, and by teaching what the chain of command is in your home.
Planning ahead and order are easier to achieve when you have a predictable routine. You can’t always predict what will happen in a day, but you can reasonably plan for many things. Planning consistent mealtimes, bedtimes, bathtimes, and playtimes will go a long way toward creating order in your home.
Kids thrive when they know what is next in their day. With so many things to think about and learn, not having to wonder what the day will bring can help them feel calmer on the inside.
Respect for Others
How can you teach someone who isn’t listening? How can you prepare your children to learn if they won’t even follow your basic instructions? Learning to respect (and listen to) others is a basic foundation for all other learning.
Respect is built on trust. We earn our children’s trust and respect when we consistently keep our promises. When we say what we mean and do what we say, our children will learn to respect us.
Consistent discipline is the key. Don’t say you’ll do something unless you intend to follow through.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to concentrate when we are surrounded by many distractions. Creating order in the home will eliminate many distractions, but sometimes, distractions are just part of life. We can help our children learn even though they are surrounded by noises, colors, and stimuli.
Concentration takes practice. From the time our children are young, we can little-by-little help them learn to concentrate on one toy at a time, for a short period of time.
When children can concentrate on what they’re studying, they can shorten the amount of time they need to learn. They’ll also retain what they learned for longer.
This is the most important thing kids need before they can learn. If my children see me learning and growing, they’ll be much more likely to want to learn and grow themselves.
However, I need God’s help to grow. I need His help to develop Godly character in my own heart. Developing my relationship with Him is the key to becoming the parent I need to be — on the inside, where it counts.
My marriage is a great place to start developing my character. As I learn to follow God’s order in my marriage, to show proper respect to my spouse, to speak kindly and calmly at home, and to pay attention to when my spouse speaks to me, my children will observe my behavior. I’ll be acting in the same way I’m expecting them to act.
Which of these four things is hardest for you? Jot your answer on a sticky note, to remind you to pray about it.
In a few days, we’ll cover what, for me, has always be the most challenging part of parenting. See you then!