I’ve always known that nagging isn’t the way to go in parenting my kids, and I really do hate yelling at them. But, the reality is my kids often to not move until I’ve told them something three or four times, and they often wait until I get my mommy-is-getting-really-mad-and-if-you-don’t-move-NOW-you-are-going-to-get-in-trouble voice before they get going.
A vicious cycle, but one that I have felt unable to stop.
There is hope for getting out of the nagging cycle!
I read this short little ebook a few weeks ago, and I feel completely enlightened! Seriously. In her ebook Smooth and Easy Days, Sonya Shafer shares big-picture wisdom on how to establish good habits in our children.
Specifically, there is a chapter which hits on how a habit is formed, and it’s relationship to the neurons firing in our brains. I’m a science nerd—so neuron-talk excites me—but don’t click away, I promise this will be helpful!
We know how to do things with ease because specific neurons have fired enough times that they become more automatic. Ever drive home only to think back and realize there were stretches of road you don’t remember driving? I have! Auto-pilot takes over on the way home. Very little effort is needed to think about where to turn.
So it is with forming habits. Our hope is to train our children’s neurons to automatically fire, so when they see a toy on the floor, they pick it up and put it away—without prompting from mom.
Seems like a dream, doesn’t it?
OK, so this is where the lightbulb has come on for me: when I go around, and tell my kids to pick up the toy while we clean, I am triggering the do-what-mommy-says-NOW neuron, instead of the there-is-a-toy-on-the-ground-I-need-to-pick-up neuron.
WOW! No wonder my kids are needing continual prompting. I have not been intentional towards firing the right neurons!
Sonya does a much better job at explaining all of this, in Smooth and Easy Days, and also gives ideas for how to trigger the correct neurons! I hope you’ll check it out. It’s free and an easy read. I read it in one sitting! (And, just an FYI, it says it is a homeschool resource but it is helpful for any parent, regardless of how you have chosen to educate!)
I am now digging into Laying Down Rails, which is a follow-up reference book with loads of practical tips for establishing good habits in my kids. Lovin’ it so far!
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