How We Proactively Train Our Children

family life Aug 03, 2023

A well-behaved child is a joy, and children are so much more secure when they know what is expected of them in each situation. In fact, correcting children and leading them in the way that is best for them is one of our biggest jobs as a parent, outside of unconditionally loving them.

Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Before starting with child-training, I like to access my children’s and my heart strings. Do they feel connected to me? Do the feel unconditionally loved by me? Do they trust I want what’s best for them?

If I’m unsure of these answers, I first try to ignore the behavior and tie the heart strings by making eye-contact, loving touch (sitting on my lap, massaging their heads, cuddling), and smiling A LOT!

Then I like to do a lot of intentional time. This is time when my phone is off or in the other room, and the children and I are doing something together. This doesn’t have to be fancy or new! I’ve found that many ordinary things like folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher can be fun and bonding when I am not focused on getting the project done itself, but instead I am focused on my child.

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Proverbs 3:11-12.



So here’s where we start getting nitty gritty with being proactive, instead of reacting to my children. Elisha and I have called these sessions “Baby bootcamps” and we like doing evening training sessions as a family. But I have also done them by myself in the morning depending on the stage of life! I delight in my children, and I want you to experience that same delight! Of course, Child training is a big topic, and my kiddos aren’t perfect, but perfection isn’t the goal.

Teaching our children self-control and respect, while growing their self-esteem, confidence, and family bond is what is important to us!

Ultimately, we want to represent the gospel to our children and communicate that God gives us boundaries because he knows what is best for us, but he also gives unconditional love and forgiveness.

Here are some answers to the most common questions I have gotten over the past few years.



I like to start around 12-18 months! Children are way smarter than we give them credit for, and the sooner we start, the easier it is.



Consistency + heart strings.




Practicing Good behavior in a controlled environment that makes obedience joyful.

What are training sessions supposed to reinforce?

1. Mama (or Daddy) is the authority, and expects first-time obedience with a happy heart
2. The correct response is first time obedience with a happy heart
3. Mama (and Daddy) love me and want what’s best for me

I don’t try to train unless . . .

1. My husband and I are on the same page with what we’re comfortable for discipline,
consequences, rewards, or expectations. (When Elisha and I aren’t on the same page, the
children quickly learn how to play the “daddy vs. mama game” and this causes stress in our
marriage, and confused manipulative children. They need to know that with every decision
Daddy and Mama are a united wall that doesn’t budge.)

2. We only do training sessions (good behavior practice sessions) when we are in a calm, happy, patient mood.


First: Explain the expectation
Second: Explain the consequence
Third: Practice / role play (and expect children to test you and see if you’re serious) Fourth: enforce the consequence/discipline in a gentle loving way
Fifth: Try again, haha. And again.

Once the child is doing well in practice, you and they know what to expect in a real-life scenario!




1. Sitting still on Mama or Daddy's lap

2. Sitting still by themselves on a chair or on a floor mat

Buckling in a car seat (start in living room and move to the car)

. Getting in a high chair

5. Asking to be excused from the table

6. Table manners

Stopping quickly when you say stop (think Red light, green light :). I start out in the house, then move out to our slow neighborhood cul-de-sac

. Coming to Mama

9. Saying “okay, mama” and obeying first before asking “why?”

10. Obeying when Mama say’s “don’t touch”

11. Introducing themselves “Hi, my name is Lucy. What’s your name?”

12. Conversation skills — learning to ask questions

13. How to do simple chores — empty bathroom trashcans into the kitchen one, or spray and wipe the table

14. Going to the grocery store (I literally go to the grocery store with nothing to get, JUST to practice my expectations for the grocery store . . . and secretly knowing I will have to leave the store to enforce whatever consequence that was the expectation. It usually just takes once for my children to know that when Mama says something, she means it. They respect me more, and have more self-respect in the future).

15. Interrupting (I have my children come up and put a hand on my arm, if I am in a conversation and say, “Excuse me?” We practice by Elisha and I role-playing being in a conversation, and them waiting there patiently after they have said, “excuse me” for me to turn and say, “Yes, Leon?” I start turning quickly, and work up until they have an expectation of waiting for 20 seconds or so until a natural lull in the conversation.)

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