Welcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage. This week we’re each answering some reader questions.
Today I will be answering several questions from Amy:
How do you deal with the constant jabbering, fidgeting, interruptions, and play-by-plays that must go on in a family your size?
I have to admit that the nearly constant noise and motion is not my preference and is one of the ways that God is refining me. While we have high standards for our children, we want our standards to be God’s standards and as much as I may like to find it, I don’t see a maximum volume level laid out for us in Scripture. So when the noise level is high (and when isn’t it???) I thank God for the gift of a home full of life, love and laughter. Then I ask myself the Yes Mom questions (Is there a real reason to say no? Are they supposed to be working on something else? “Are they being foolish/unkind/undisciplined/etc?”) and if the answer to all three questions is no, I die a little tiny bit to self, bite my tongue and thank God for a noisy home full of life, love and laughter.
Some other ideas:
There are certain times during the day when the children are expected to be calm and quiet. At meals, during the baby’s nap and during times of family worship everyone is expected to be still and concentrate on the task at hand.
Teach your children courtesy and kindness. While Mark and I are happy to have a home filled with life and laughter, we do not allow the selfishness or unkindness that people sometimes mistakenly label as ‘kids just being kids’. If something is unkind, rude or disrespectful we deal with it appropriately.
- No interrupting – This includes making excessive noise when someone else is having a conversation.
- No unkindness – This may seem basic, but we are often tempted to shrug off unkindness as ‘teasing’. If it is commanded or forbidden by Scripture, it’s commanded or forbidden in our home.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Phil. 2:3-4
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “I was only joking!” ~ Prov 26:18-19
A good way for children to determine what is acceptable is whether or not the words or actions bother their object. i.e. if sister says, “Please stop______.” it is unkind to continue. We use this procedure to help the children handle disputes on their own.
Make certain that the children have adequate time to burn off some of their energy by giving them the time and space to run, jump and yell. Even when it’s cold outside it’s good for those boys to spend some time outdoors.
How do you teach a kid to focus, as it is not their natural tendency?
I’m sorry what was that again?
I think that this is a skill that takes lots of time and patience to develop in children and I think we need to make sure that we as moms are focused on our own priorities, one of which is teaching our children to be diligent in the tasks that God has given to them.
When it comes to focusing on learning, reading or listening, we use narration. We have the children tell back to us in their own words what they learned, read or heard. If a child isn’t able to tell us what they’ve learned we have them go over the material again.
We often use a timer when we give them a task to complete and we place opportunities to work just before we have something fun and enjoyable scheduled so there is additional motivation to focus and finish promptly.
When our children are simply being disobedient we deal with that accordingly.
How (should I) keep a jabber box from telling me every detail, without making him think that I don’t want to hear what he has to say?
If you want him to come and talk to you when the going gets tough, I think it is important to listen to him now. So you listen, smile and thank God for the jabber box.
I do understand what you are talking about and there are times when it is necessary to cut the narrative shorter than the child would prefer, but I try to do this only when necessary. “Honey, Mommy needs to make a phone call (listen to sister read, get a shower) right now, but I’d love to talk more later.”
One other thing to consider when you have one of those extreme talkers is to balance listening to them with teaching them to be considerate of others. That is a James 1:5 balance.
Be sure visit the other moms of many to read their answers to your questions:
Connie @ Smockity Frocks answers questions about transportation, bedrooms and college.
The Headmistress @The Common Room talks about co-sleeping and teaching boys using Charlotte Mason’s methods.
Tomorrow a group of us will be starting to read through the Bible in 90 days, please visit this post for details if you’d like to join us. Mom’s Toolbox will be hosting another Bible in 90 days read through beginning in July.
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.