I decided when my boys were young to make sure that they were being trained by me to do certain things. I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and I’m happy to share then with you.
1. Opening Doors
It was easy to teach them this one. I simply did what my grandma used to do. Wait until someone opened it. Sometimes that meant waiting for a minute or two but that only happened a few times with all three of my boys that I can remember. The key to this training here is to always be overly excited and praise the child, or gentleman, when he opens the door for you. They love receiving this praise from a lady, especially mom! My boys are now very attentive to this task and have even started a new problem: fighting over who opens the door for mom. I have no quick tip for that one.
2. Bodily Nuisances
This one really bothers me and frankly we are still working on it. The one thing that I have begun to do and that seems to be working is this: show them the look of dislike and leave their presence. This has meant getting up from the table for me at times but they understand my disappointment in their actions. A few times they have excused themselves from the table and walked into the other room.
3. Grocery Boy
When I return home from grocery shopping I always blow the horn and pop the trunk. My boys know that if they don’t retrieve the groceries from the car then they don’t get any snacks for the week. This is crucial to a boy who eats ten times a day.
4. Clean Hands
Boys like to eat so verifying that they have washed their hands prior to all feasting is a must. I taught them how to properly wash their hands by standing at their side the first few times and going over it repeatedly.
- Turn on water.
- Wet hands.
- Apply soap.
- Rub hands together for the duration of singing “Happy Birthday.”
- Rinse completely.
- Dry with towel.
I look at every crack and crevice of their hands when they are done and send them back if they don’t do it right. I hardly ever have to send them back anymore.
5. Bathroom Messes
Yeah, I have absolutely had to deal with this issue. Remember this: The Boy-Bathroom Situation? Well, it is completely fixed now that I implemented the “all scrub the toilet” rule. I now have little spies who will run in after each other just to see if they left a mess. They don’t want to clean it up so they make sure of who did what!
6. Southern Hospitality
We are known for a few things here in the south. A couple that I’m not too happy about concern my children. Yes, they were taught to spit and use the bathroom in wide open spaces – in view of everyone! They were not taught this by me but other family members see nothing wrong with it. Yeah, well, they’ve never taken them to an amusement park where they decided to relieve themselves in front of the tilt-a-whirl so I had to denounce their authority over my kids and retrain my boys. I started by punishing them every time it happened. They lost privileges, games, toys, etc. If there was a bathroom in site then they had to use those facilities. If we were in the vast open country with no bathroom in site then they had to find a private location. I am happy to say that passersby no longer see my child’s rear end from the front porch because he decided the rose bushes were the prime location!
I also made them get a napkin and clean up their spit whenever I saw that they had done that. They thought it was silly to clean it up from dirt but after having to do it a few times they got tired of it.
7. Messy Eaters
I’m at a loss. My children don’t seem to know where their mouth is and how gravy can end up in someones hair is beyond me. Every night my husband pushes their chairs further under the table and brings their plate closer to them. We show them every night how to eat properly. It hasn’t worked yet. Any suggestions?