Many “experts” think that toddlers are to young to be “trained”. Ah, you would be truly amazed at how much a 1 year old really does understand. My Sammy is 14 months and I would beg to differ. That little girl understands a ton! Here are just a few things:
- I can ask her to go get mamma a diaper and she will go to her room, go to the diaper basket and grab it and give one to me.
- I can hand her the diaper I just changed and tell her to go throw it away and she will walk towards the pantry door (of course she can’t open it but she’ll try). And then when the door is opened for her she’ll throw it in the trash.
- She will be playing with her toys and I’ll say, “Sammy let’s pick up the toys” and she will begin to put them back in her toy basket.
- If she is holding something in her hand and I say Sammy bring it to mamma, she will bring it to me.
- If she is climbing on the chair that she knows she isn’t supposed to be climbing and I tell her in a stern voice “NO MA’AM” she will begin to get down.
- There have been times when one of her big brothers has left the bathroom door open and she will begin to walk into it and I’ll catch her and say “Sammy Jo” in that “I see what your are getting ready to do and you are not supposed to be doing it” tone and she’ll take off toddling the other way with a coy little gin on her face. You know the one, the “I almost got away with it” grin.
- When it is time to go to bed, we can look at Samantha and say “time to go night-night Sammy” and she’ll find her bunny blanket (the one she can’t live with out) and head towards her room and stand by her crib.
- The best one of all – when we sit down at the dinner table and Daddy says, “let’s pray” she will hold out her hands for us to hold them and she will try and bow her little chin and she starts a babblin’ away with whoever is saying the prayer that meal. It is the cutest thing!
All of this she’s been doing for a few months now.
So, is she the smartest girl in the world or what? NO!! (Although as her mamma I kinda think so! HA!) No, really she has just been shown what to do. She has been trained. (As were her big brothers). She has been shown what to do, by her daddy, her big brothers and me. Maybe her concept of right and wrong isn’t the same as her three-year-old brother, but she does know in many circumstances what is good and pleasing to mamma and what is not. She doesn’t comply 100% of the time – but neither do her big brothers. Of course the difference there is that when her big brothers don’t comply, they face consequences (privileges revoked, extra chores, etc). For Sammy, on the other hand, it is enough for her that she sees mamma disappointed or hears a sterner voice and for her this is enough to make her not want to do something. And when she hears mamma excited and smiling, she knows she has done a good thing, therefore she wants to continue in that behavior.
Training your children isn’t difficult, it just takes a little time and you have to be willing to devote yourself to it and be consistent. But, I can tell you from experience (on both sides unfortunately) that taking a few weeks to work on some training with your child is so beneficial. You will be rewarded in the long run. After all, what does scripture say?
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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).