Just wanted to share some activities that we do in our home to be pro-active in character training. Most of these ideas we got from others and I would love it if you would comment on some ideas that work for your family!
Chore cards- We started chore cards a few months ago and it has been a big hit with the boys. It's a very simple index card system. I chose about 6 green colored index cards for MZ and 6 blue for CZ and I wrote on each card a different chore...like make bed, brush teeth, get dressed, as the every day chores. Then I wrote Monday (and so on) on one card and I put a daily chore on that card like separate clothes, Tuesday dust end tables, Wednesday.... This is different for each boy since they are at different stages. I had JZ draw (or you can get print pictures) of each activity since they can't read...for brush teeth she simply drew a toothbrush and toothpaste. So, they feel really great being able to "read" the cards. After each card they flip and go onto the next one in the pile. MZ (the 2 yr old) loves to run and flip the next card...he excitedly says FLLLIIIPPP! The last card is a picture of mom and they run to tell mom that they are finished with their chores. I love to see the huge smile on their faces and the sense of accomplishment. I throw in a see mom for a treat card once a week. They obviously love that card! It's a good idea to set a timer on how long you think it should take to help with diligence. This is a training time so I am right there directing and encouraging diligence!! They get easily sidetracked at this age! (I got this from Growing Kid's God's Way)
Jesus Time- Usually after the chore cards are done I take MZ and we have Jesus Time while CZ looks at books or plays with Legos. We go through a short devotional and sing songs as we rock. I pray at the beginning and the end for their salvation and character. Then MZ has his blanket time and I have Jesus Time with CZ. It's a special time with each boy individually! Carla Link (parent educator) gave me this idea. It helps them learn that we should spend time with Jesus everyday. If you start this young it will be a part of their lifestyle. When they are older they can read bible devotions to you and then eventually transition into having their own quiet time.
Family Time- On Sundays we have a blast with Family Time. It teaches biblical truths in ways kid's can understand...very hands on. You can go http://www.famtime.com/ and sign up for free monthly activities. I ordered the books at Hearts at Home but you can order them on the website. Very fun, easy to plan and cheap activities! I just used a family time activity that we did 8 months ago with CZ the other day when correcting. The activity was to have a cut out of a person (we traced CZ on white roll out paper) and taped it on the wall. We took turns talking about kind words and put those words in a hat. We then took turns writing down bad and hurtful words like "I don't like you" and put those words in a hat. We each took turns pulling a bad word out of a hat and each time we tore a piece off of the cut out person...first a foot then a hand. Then, we talked about how hurtful words can be. Next, we pulled out the good words and with each good word we taped a piece back up. When it was all taped together we talked about how you can still see the tear. So even when we say sorry for hurtful words it still leaves a scar on that persons heart. CZ had said something mean to his little brother and since we had already talked to him about how hurtful words are, it made sense to him and he was more sensitive after that. That is just one example of the fun activities that are teaching them God's truth.
Cooking with Mom- I just started this since baby Z has been born- they are having a great time! CZ helped me make an Olde World sandwich from their wonderful cookbook the other night and he was so proud at dinner! MZ chopped olives in an eggslicer and talked about it all night! They love baking as well. I've been meaning to have JZ plan a meal each week and cook it....I think we will wait for fair to be done to get that started.
Dates- We each take our kid's out for a special one on one time each month. It is so important to connect and build trust as you talk to them. This will be HUGE when they are pre-teens and teens! It has helped so much with communication with our 13 year old! (Carla and Joey Link)
Goal Charts- Make a list of what character qualities you want to instill in your child and write it or print it out on cardstock/construction paper. With a ruler make rows of squares to fit the size of sticker you want. I let my kid's decorate the chart the way they would like. This gives them some ownership. Each time you see this positive behavior they get to pick a sticker and place it on the chart. When our children have 10 stickers they get to choose a little toy or candy at the store. When they have filled up their chart we take them some place special. I love this because it keeps me focused on what I am trying to teach. Also, it is so GREAT to catch them doing good. It's so easy to get busy and tired and tell our kid's NO all day! It really feels good to say great job!! (Growing Kid's God's Way)
Family Core Values- This is something my husband and I thought up together. Our pastor went through a series on family fitness and suggested each family comes up with a family plan on their values. During family time one night we sat as a family and talked about what we want to be characterized as a christian family. We wrote those down (they are at the bottom of the blog). Then my hubby worked on getting verses that backed up those characteristic traits-we used 3 verses per trait. Sounds good but where is the practical? Well, we thought it's easy to have a list but how are we going to live it out? I really don't want another list!! We got a jar at the Dollar Tree and also gum balls. Each time we see one of those character qualities being displayed we put a gumball in the jar. When it is all filled up we get to go some place fun! The only rule is that you can't point it out yourself..other family members have to point it out. We just started this summer so it is a progression. We plan on taking the values and verses that back it up and talk about what that means practically in everyday life and have that a part of our dinner talks.
Quiet Time Talks- Sunday Mornings during breakfast we get our journals out and talk about what spoke to us during the week in our quiet times. It's great to hear what spoke to my husband and our 13 yr old but it also keeps us accountable to eachother. The boys enjoy telling what they learned about in their Jesus Time. (Carla and Joey Link)
I would love to hear what your family does! As I type this out it seems like a lot! But during the corse of a week it really doesn't seem like that much at all. These are activities that we have implimented over 3 years. We didn't just start them all at once. It does take a lot of time and energy to disciple (not discipline..well that, too!) our children- Ever thought of your children as your disciples? This is my ministry. My hubby's and my heart is that we want to give it all we got and not look back with regrets when we do have time!!! It is worth the sacrifice to us.