Training Children’s Hearts

Moms frequently tell us they intend to catch up on the training of their children, which gets away from parents with the busyness of life. When is life going to slow down enough for you to catch up? It is not. You are going to have to slow your life down by saying “No” to things for yourself and your kids. Do you need to catch up on the moral character training of your children? If so, we want to give you a boost of encouragement to get back on trackbefore more time gets away from you.

First, keep your training ‘to-do’ list narrowed down to working on one thing at a time. I used to make a list of four things I wanted to work on with each of my children. We would actively work on the first one or two items, and give reminders for the third. The fourth was just there as a reminder to me we would get around to it eventually!

Do you have a plan to train your children? Do you even have a firm idea in your mind of what ‘training’ entails? There are three steps to training:


1) You have to impart knowledge – Your kids need to know why this is important to you and God and why it needs to be important to them. Kids don’t retain lectures. Come up with creative ways (I know, this takes time!) to teach them the moral character traits that are instilled in hearts that live for Christ.


2) Knowledge alone will not motivate children to work on a character trait. They need the practicalapplication that goes with the knowledge. In other words, they need to know how to do what you are teaching them. You tell your 3-yr old to be kind to her brother. Do you think she really knows what ‘be kind’ looks like? Instead, ask her to tell you one way she could show kindness to her brother. These types of questions will show you if your kids know what you mean when you say a certain word or phrase.


3) Children will need motivation to follow through with putting what you are teaching them into practice. Another word for ‘motivation’ is ‘consequences. Before you start working on a character trait with your child, have in mind what appropriate consequences can be applied when necessary that are agreeable to both you and your spouse.


Knowledge, practical application and consequences are the three steps to effectively training your children, and all three are required to do the job successfully. Step back and evaluate the level of obedience each one of your children has. If it is not better than 75%, then put that at the top of your list. Sit down with your spouse and come up with a list of three things for each of your children that need work. Think in terms of character traits. Don’t put down you want to teach them to remember to do their chores. Put down you want to teach them responsibility instead. That is thinking in terms of character traits. Now you might use following through with chores as the tool to accomplish this, and that’s okay. Take your spouse on a ‘kid date’ (because you are going to talk about the kids) and come up with goals and a plan and get to work!