If you find that you are feeling the same way remember this:
"You are in the tough years. Not enough sleep, constant training, making sacrifices of "you time" in order to meet their needs. But you must remember that it is a season of life - one that does not last forever!"
As a Mom of six kids who all have been only home educated, I can attest to this fact. I thought those days would never end, but guess what? They do! My oldest is now 25 years old, is a Dad and works full time. My second child is 23 and married. She works full time too! The third child is almost 21 and a full time student at a Bible school that is out of state.
I do have three still at home, and a granddaughter, that I am teaching. But they are growing up too!
Here are some key things to remember, if you are in the training phase of life with your children.
1. It won't last forever and the more diligent you are now in their training, the greater the rewards of cheerful, happy children later.
2. It really is just a season of life. You will sleep through the night again!
3. The important thing is to have their hearts trust you. When you have their hearts it is much easier to train them.
4. Even strong willed children can learn self control! This is so necessary for all of us, but especially the strong willed child. Self control will benefit them for their whole life!
5. God will equip you with everything you need to raise these children He has given to you! Ask Him to show you what each child needs and how to best train each child. No two kids are alike so it stands to reason that there will be different ways to reach their hearts. God knows what they need, and He wants you to ask Him what it is!
When I am working with my three kids (grades 10, 7, and 4) I need my 4 year old granddaughter occupied and not being distracting. So I have activities that she can work on by herself during that time.
1. Drawing and Coloring.
She really loves art, so sometimes I will get her set up with her watercolor paints, but most of the time she gets her coloring books out or just plain paper and then pulls this box of crayons, color pencils, and twisty crayons out. She can be with us, but she needs to be quiet too, so we practice this while she colors and draws.
2. Hand Eye Coordination Activities -
This is a cute plastic jar full of colorful beads in different shapes, sizes and textures. She loves to play with these.
She also likes these colorful poms. She uses tweezers and picks them up, one by one, and moves them from the bin to a bowl.
Now, often she wants to do puzzles with someone, so this activity is often for when the other kids don't need my attention. She loves puzzles and they are good for her brain development.
4. Include Them In The Lesson.
Maybe you are doing science and you can include the younger one. Take a Nature Walk and find bugs, or look at clouds, or do pencil rubbings of the bark on trees. Watch a video about animals. Sometimes this works well with multiple age children.
Once my kids are doing independent work, then I work with Kamryn. We sing her Days of the Week song or work on learning her numbers or she'll work in a book of letters and their sounds.
Here is another important tip:
" Do short lessons with young children."
I cannot stress this enough! We do not want to burn our little ones out. Short lessons, that build one upon the other are the way to good learning.
So what do I do if Kamryn just will not cooperate and listen? This does happen because she is strong willed and can redirect 'her' plans over and over to get what she wants to achieve.
I try to remember that she needs me to be in charge of her, and she must learn self control and that she can't always get what she wants. So I try to present her options. Mind you, I am not negotiating with her. I am not trying to talk her into obeying. Those things don't work in the long run and are exhausting. All they do is to train Mama or in my case Grandma.
This is how I deal with her. If she is insisting on doing something I've told her she may not do, I give her the option of doing something else, perhaps she can choose between two things. (Strong willed people like to feel as if they are in control of everything) Since I am giving her the choices, though, I am the one really in control. She just gets to feel as if she is. Sometimes she keeps on with what she originally wanted and I have to deal out some discipline.
You can decide what works best for your child, but allow me to give you some food for thought.
Discipline is not to be given only when we have 'had enough!' Discipline is for their good. It should never involve embarrassing them in front of others, or shaming them. It simply should be factual - "You did this after I told you not to. So now you are going to have to go lay on your bed (or whatever)." I have learned (the hard way) that I don't need to yell at my kids (and I shouldn't - who likes to be yelled at?) to enforce them to right behavior. What I must do is be diligent with following through with what I say I will do. If they have to clean their room and you find them playing instead, then give them consequences. Don't get angry. Just met out the consequences. Show them you still love them, tell them, and be kind but firm. Genuinely smile at them. Tell them, "I'm sorry that you didn't choose to obey. Now you are going to have to ____." And enforce it.
This teaches them to take responsibility for their actions.
You will find that if you are diligent during these early years, then you will have a peace filled home (most of the time anyway) and everyone will be happy and the learning environment will be fun.
Be encouraged Mamas! Remember what God told Joshua as he prepared to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the your God is with you wherever you go.” This is true for us too! He will be with you and will help you!