There are so many things we want our kids to know before they leave our houses in a cloud of adulthood. Hundreds and thousands of things.
A few years back I read a book entitled 8 Things No Kids Should Leave Home Without by Joe McGee. It moved me to think more intentionally about my own list.
We are currently parenting the seventh (and final!) two-year-old. You parents know. You know how psycho that year two can be. And for parents who haven’t gotten there yet, consider yourselves warned: It. Is. A. Doozy.
My BHF (Best Hubby Forever) and I have noticed that if our training is premeditated, the Terrible Two’s don’t slide as far into the Dreaded Three’s. And since we parents need to stick together and gang up on our kids’ poor behavior, I am willing to share our first three goals for our kids.
Three things we want our kids to know by the time they turn three:
1. They are so unbelievably valuable.
Our two year olds might not really understand this whole Jesus thing but we can set them up to learn by valuing them the way God does.
They are important and when they speak, they are worth listening to. Unless of course mom’s ears fall off due to overuse. We then observe but a moment of silence.
Hugging them, accepting their “help” around the house and looking into their eyes when we speak, shout loudly of their value at an age when theology on the love of God cannot.
2. Say Please and Thank You, Please.
Our two-year-olds hear the question “Yes, please or no thank you?” very very often until we hear it coming back at us.
Classic manners really do soften the blows of Whiney Dinner Voice and Potty Time Accidents. It is so much easier to wipe up spilled milk when it is preceded by a Please. Those little words help us help them and so we pretty much insist on them.
3. Obedience is non-negotiable.
This is a big one. If our kids believe that only they are valuable, big trouble is a-brewing. As prized as they are, if our toddlers have not learned to treasure our instructions, we have all missed it.
Because it is a whole lot harder to train a three-year-old to obey than a two, this one should not wait.
Here is a helpful tip from a fellow mom-of-many: If your child doesn’t do what you ask, take them by the hand and lead them. Get off of the couch and place their hand on the block while you instruct them to pick up the blocks. The physical movement along with verbal instruction imprints the obedience deeper into their minds.
My BHF and I tell our kids that they are learning to obey us now so that they will know how to obey Jesus too.
And when it all comes down to the very bottom line, it’s all about him anyway. We are not just raising kids, we are raising disciples.
We are setting up our toddlers to be loved by Jesus and follow him forever.
More Age Goals for older kids coming soon!
What are your goals for your toddlers? Which things rise to the top of your list?