Imagine playing ball in the front yard with your son. The ball rolls into the street. Your son begins to chase after it, unaware of an oncoming car. You call to your son to stop. Immediately, he stops dead in his tracks and turns back to look at you. At this point, the time you’ve taken to train him to obey you right away is worth it all.
Safety, of course, is a main reason why we teach our children to obey us right away. When they are in danger, we want to be sure they listen to our voice and heed the instruction.
Although I’m focusing on training preschoolers to obey, these principles can be translated to any age. Quickly obeying those in authority is essential for getting along in life.
So how can you assist your kids in developing this essential skill? As a mom of five, these were the techniques I used:
- Explanation. Even if you are working with a toddler, a short explanation of why we should obey right away is key. Let your child know that you love her so much that you want what’s best for her. You will only ask her to do something that will help her. So it’s important for her to listen to Mommy and obey right away.
Understanding. Even a toddler or preschooler can understand what obeying right away means. Ask him, “When Mommy says pick up your toys, how do obey right away?” Help him to understand that this means you will do as Mommy says, and do it immediately.
Practice. Set up some scenarios where you play a game of obeying right away. Make sure your chiild knows that you’re watching to see if she can do it. Then praise her for being quick to obey.
Reward. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. To encourage this new habit, be sure to be generous with verbal praise every time your child obeys right away. Stars or stickers on a chart can also be used to build this skill into a habit, but eventually, you want him to do it on his own.
Reminder phrase. We taught our kids to chant, “I obey, right away!” Anything you can put into a singsong phrase will help a child to remember. One of my viewers on Periscope recently shared the chant she uses with her children. When Mom says, “First time I say it…” and then kids respond, “I obey it!” A great gentle reminder!
No matter what age we are, we will most likely have someone in authority over us giving instruction that needs to be followed. So take the time now to train this habit in your children. It will make your life easier while they are at home, and will make their life easier once they are adults.
Question: What is/was your go-to technique to train your child to obey right away? Share your answer in the comments below.