The Instructional Routine

the instructional routine

The Instructional routine is crucial because it:

  • builds character in the child.
  • Cooperation 
  • and responsibility 

How? Because a good Instructional Routine has a balance of:

clarity

affirmation

firmness,

and teamwork.

Here are the steps of The Instructional routine:

Stage 1

The parent: get close to the child. Don’t shout your instructions across the room or house. By getting close to the child,

  • it gives value to what you are about to say. For younger children, you may hold their hands and look them in the eye.
  • getting close to the child breaks the child’s concentration on what he/she is doing. They get to listen to what you have to say.
  • this increases cooperation.

The child– comes when called. Dr. Scott Turansky and Johanne Miller RN BSN in the book- Parenting Is Heart Work training manual:

“In fact, coming when called is a “preschool survival skill.”

They emphasize that older children need to come when called too. For younger children, you can make it a game. You may say, ” Pat, I want you to sit on the couch. When I call you, you come over and say, “what mom?”

When Pat comes over after you call him, validate him. Tell him he is learning how to obey. Use a lot of encouragement and praise.

Stage 2

Parent– evaluate your timing before you speak. If your child is upset, you need to deal with the situation first. Show empathy and that your relationship with him is more important than the instruction.

The child- children must be ready to receive instructions ALL the time though. In the instructional process, children learn,

  • how to give up their own agenda
  • to think about others instead of themselves.

Stage 3-make sure the child knows its NOT a suggestion

Parent: Give instructions. Make sure your child knows its not a suggestion, but an instruction. like you don’t say, “Pat, would you like to go take a bath, now.” You say, Pat let’s go to the bathroom. Its time to take a path.”

Use a calm, matter-of-fact voice. Avoid loudness and intensity, because it wears on the relationship.

Child: The child answers. ” okay, mom”

The response tells the parent 3 things:

  • the child heard what you said.
  • the child intends to follow through.
  • gives the parent a clue about the child’s attitude. If Pat says,” Okaaaaay Moooooom!” Then, you know you need to deal with the attitude.

Stage 4

The Tricky stage for most parents.

Parent– Wait expectantly. Don’t nag. Give your child time so they learn to be responsible. The child needs to feel uncomfortable until they are done with the assignment. You may remind the child wisely. ” Pat, I’m waiting”

Child: To do the job as if on a mission

Stage 5

The only stage the child starts

Child: Reports back to the parent.,” Here is the book mom/dad” Reporting back teaches children accountability. And the child will be showing that he/she knows that the job is important.

Parent: Inspects and releases, if the job needs some inspection. If the child needs to do some touch up tell him/her so. Praise for a job well done. Release by the parent gives the child a sense of freedom.

IN CONCLUSION

The time mom/dad spends adjusting the way they give instructions. And the way the son responds to them will dramatically improve their relationship. Thereby, making family life work more efficiently, and teaches the son valuable lessons for the future. When necessary the parent uses:

The Break https://nurturenavigation.com/2019/12/09/the-parent-can-use-the-break-methodrepentent-method-instead-of-time-out-which-is-a-sentence-for-the-offence/ to help the son think through things and repent.

The parent to continue praying and loving their child. Knowing change is a process. Even the Instructional routine can take a while for some kids to follow through. But, hey it’s doable. Keep on keeping on.

Continue reading “The Instructional Routine”

The Break-How do you deal with a 2 year- old, who does not want to sit for meals or just settle down?

The Break

The break and time-out are different in that in timeout the child must ‘serve a sentence’ for a crime’ they’ve committed. And the parent’s role is to keep the child in the place of time-out until the time is up. In The Break responsibility for change is moved to the child The break focuses on heart change, not only behavior change. After the child does wrong you send them on a mission to change their heart(repentance).

The focus here is on the heart of the child, length of time is determined by the child. A break is not a consequence but part of a training process. Children learn to take a break for them to settle down and think things through. For example- what they did wrong and how they should have behaved. This is a good practice even for adults(parents). It’s not wise to continue working with a child when their temper is rising and the parent’s temper is rising. In the break, the child has the responsibility to make changes and come back to the parent. When the child comes back, the attitude of the parent is to show a desire for the child to return. Let me give an example here: Your daughter gets up over and over again. Let’s say her name is Shirley.

The Break

You say,

” Shirley, you’re 2 years old. And you’re becoming a big girl. Very soon you’ will be going to kindergarten. You need to learn discipline. Go take a break, and come back when you are ready to listen and settle down.”

Little Shirley goes and comes back. You ask her,

” Are you ready to listen?”

This is where Postive Conclusion comes in

Let’s say she says “Yes”. Ask her what she did wrong. Maybe she says, “I kept on standing up”. You then say,

” And what were you supposed to do?”.

Maybe says,” sit down” or” Sit down and let you know if I need something”. You then show her affirmation and love and tell her,

” Alright, let’s do this again. Shirley, settle down.” Before you start the process of The Break for the very first time, you explain it to her and how it works. This process works as long as the parent is committed to it.

What is A Positive Conclusion? Dr. Scotty Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN in Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual, say:

A positive Conclusion is a discussion you have with your child after the consequence to clarify the offense, make a plan for next time, and offer encouragement to do the right thing.

They continue by saying it offers hope to the child because at times a child is repetitively corrected then they become discouraged. It helps the child have thoughts of a positive future. They encourage parents to practice Positive Conclusion each time they discipline their child. Because children learn by repetition. At the end of each session show love, forgiveness and acceptance to the child.

Dealing with a toddler who does not want to take ‘No’, for an answer, and has a meltdown. He does not want to follow instructions, hence he doesn’t want to cooperate.

An uncooperative child usually does not want to accept NO for an answer. They also do not want to follow instructions from the parent. In this scenario, we are dealing with a 3-year old son, let’s call him Pat. Mom is having trouble getting cooperation from this boy.

Uncooperative child-the mom

I would encourage mom to work on the relationship between herself and the son. When there is a good relationship between the two, it’s easier for the son to listen to the mom. Mom needs to be intentional about the relationship issues. for instance, she needs to spend time with Pat doing something the son loves. If he loves watching cartoons, mom once in a while, joins the son and participate. Also, being present by getting in the same mode of enjoying.

Mom to empathize with the son, thereby connecting on an emotional level. Especially, after mom says,’ No’ to the son, and he shows that he is not happy. She needs to let him know that she understands his disappointment, but the answer is still,” No.” Mom needs to be firm, but loving. Even in situations where mom is not involved. Where somebody denied Pat something. She needs to validate the son’s pain or disappointment. Then moves to suggestions if needed. Since empathy communicates love, at the same time allowing the child to accept responsibility for the problem. Children can take as much pressure as the relationship allows.

‘Things done’ department

Mom also needs to work in the things done department. By giving Pat chores that are appropriate for his age. This fosters life skills such as

  • cooperation,
  • responsiveness to authority,
  • giving up one’s agenda,
  • contributing to family life
  • and taking initiative.

Mom to teach son to pick up his toys after playtime. Take his plate to the kitchen when done eating. Washing hands after using the bathroom. And help out with little things in the house.


Even though the son resists Instruction Routine and is uncooperative, mom should keep at it. Knowing that sometimes children resist change. In order to gain the most from an Instructional Routine, mom should keep an eye on the heart. https://nurturenavigation.com/2019/10/25/heart/




The Instructional Routine

Step 1

The parent: get close to the child. Don’t shout your instructions across the room or house. By getting close to the child,

  • it gives value to what you are about to say. For younger children, you may hold their hands and look them in the eye.
  • getting close to the child breaks the child’s concentration on what he is doing. He gets to listen to what you have to say.
  • this increases cooperation.

The child– comes when called. Dr. Scott Turansky and Johanne Miller RN BSN in the book- Parenting Is Heart Work training manual:

In fact, coming when called is a “preschool survival skill.”

They emphasize that older children need to come when called too. For younger children, you can make it a game. You may say, ” Pat, I want you to sit on the couch. When I call you, you come over and say, “what mom?”

When Pat comes over after you call him, validate him. Tell him he is learning how to obey. Use a lot of encouragement and praise.

Step 2

Parent– evaluate your timing before you speak. If your child is upset, you need to deal with the situation first. Show empathy and that your relationship with him is more important than the instruction.

The child- children must be ready to receive instructions, ALL the time. Because it’s not about their convenience. In the instructional process, children learn,

  • how to give up their own agenda
  • to think about others instead of themselves.
  • and it’s practice for the future

Step 3-make sure the child knows its NOT a suggestion

Parent: Give instructions. Make sure your child knows its not a suggestion, but an instruction. You don’t say, “Pat, would you like to go take a bath, now?”

Instead, you say, “Pat, go to the bathroom. Its time to take a path.”

Use a calm, matter-of-fact voice. Avoid loudness and intensity, because it wears on the relationship.

Child: The child answers. ” okay, mom”

The response tells the parent 3 things:

  • the child heard what you said.
  • the child intends to follow through.
  • gives the parent a clue about the child’s attitude. If Pat says,” Okaaaaay Moooooom! ” Then, you know you need to deal with the attitude.

Step 4– The tricky stage for most parents

Parent– Wait expectantly. Don’t nag. Give your child time so they learn to be responsible. The child needs to feel uncomfortable until they are done with the assignment. You may remind the child wisely. ” Pat, I’m waiting”

Child: To do the job as if on a mission

Step 5– The only stage the child starts

Child: Reports back to the parent.,” Here is the book mom.” Reporting back teaches children accountability. By this, the child shows that he knows that the job is important.

Parent: Inspects and releases.

if the job needs some inspection. If the child needs to do some touch up tell him so. Praise for a job well done.

Release by the parent gives the child a sense of freedom.

In Conclusion

Cooperation and responsibility grow out of a good Instructional Routine. Because a good Instructional Routine has a balance of :

  • firstly, clarity
  • also affirmation,
  • furthermore firmness,
  • finally, teamwork.

Consequently, the child moves from an uncooperative child to being cooperative, a team player and responsible. Mom spends time adjusting the way she gives instructions. And the way the son responds to the instructions will dramatically improve their relationship, thereby, making family life work more efficiently, and teach the son valuable lessons for the future. When necessary mom to use The Break https://nurturenavigation.com/2019/12/09/the-parent-can-use-the-break-methodrepentent-method-instead-of-time-out-which-is-a-sentence-for-the-offence/ to help the son think through things and repent.

The parent to continue praying and loving their child. Knowing change is a process. Even the Instructional routine can take a while for some kids to follow through. But, hey it’s doable. Keep on keeping on.

How to deal with a child, who reacts with anger when frustrated.

An angry child usually causes frustration for their parents. children-hurting-parents. It’s important to know that emotions are God-given, but they can be misused.  I encourage the parent to spend time reflecting on your emotions. Because if you process your emotions well yourself, its easier to connect on a heart level with your child.

Emotions come from the heart of a person, therefore, parents need to connect with their children emotionally, on a deeper level. Emotionally connecting with your child will soften their heart, and prepares the way for much of the hard work of parenting. Thereby, making it more tolerable or even enjoyable. When the parents connect on a deeper level with the child, it’s easier for the child to cooperate with the parents.

Jesus was a good example of leaving behind an agenda, in order to care for people’s needs and connect with their hearts

 In Luke 10:38-42 He rebuked Martha for her busyness and affirmed Mary for sitting with Him.

At the Home of Martha and Mary
38. As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”41. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” N.I.V.

Jesus here emphasized relationships over other activities. Not saying what Martha was doing was wrong, but Mary chose the best and most beneficial activities.

Jesus ministered to people’s needs by feeding 5000, Matthew 14: 13-21

13. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15. As evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16. Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17. “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18. “Bring them here to me,” He said. 19. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were leftover. 21. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Paul In Romans 12: 15

” Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” This indicating emotionally connecting with others is important.

An angry child-During nondiscipline times

During nondiscipline times, have a meeting with your child. Acknowledge your child’s feelings, and help the child understand what’s going on in his/her heart. You also need to teach them three basic emotions: sad, mad and happy and have them talk about the visual cues we receive from others that tell us they are upset. Explain that at times when children are sad, afraid or disappointed they cover up these emotions with being mad. This is not intentionally done for the most part. Because it takes vulnerability and courage to admit sadness or fear. Anger becomes the preferred response because children have bought into the lie that angry people are strong. Teach the child to see emotions in others, so they develop greater empathy and relational maturity.

Teach the child to:

  • Identify the cues- the place where they can tell they are starting to get angry eg the hairs on his arms start to stand up or they can’t think straight. Tell your child that you will raise the awareness level of the cues like when you start seeing him raising his voice, becoming irritable then you come in. Give them this Scripture- James 1: 19,” be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Also, inform the child that the Bible does not say don’t get angry, but be slow to get angry, meaning be patient and have endurance. It’s not wrong to get angry but meanness and disrespect are not acceptable. Negative feelings don’t justify poor responses.

Emphasize also, that when one gets angry it’s important to deal with anger quickly since when one is angry for a long time they give an opportunity for the devil to come in and make a mess.

Ephesians 4: 26-27

26And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Tell your child to choose a better response

i) Coach your child in using The Break Technique the-break-method as a way of pulling back. This method can be used for a child of any age. The parent just adjusts to the age of the child. If your child says it’s difficult to pull back, they would rather vent their anger, you may give them:

Proverbs 29: 11,” A fool gives full vent to his anger but wise a wise man keeps himself under control.” Explain to him/her that he/she is not a fool but wise that’s why he/she is eager to tame their anger and he/she will do it if he keeps at it.

ii) talk about it instead of reacting emotionally.
get help from the parents


iii) slow down and persevere instead of whining and complaining about it


iv) use non-emotional times to practice the right responses


v)Give your angry child hope by encouraging them and giving them Scripture Romans 5:3-4 trials help us develop endurance, endurance, character, character helps us develop hope. I also strongly encourage parents to pray for your child and pray for yourselves, so that you develop the tenacity to help out your child

Don’t engage with an angry child-caution to the parent

chhild's anger
Engaging with an angry child


 The parent to stop and pull back instead of pushing forward. If the child pushes forward don’t engage with the angry child, because that will be adding gasoline to fire. If you engage with an angry child, you lose the battle. Because the child usually would want to argue with the parent. Why? So that the parent loses focus on the real issue.  A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare-Proverbs 15:1-3.

When the child is angry and you are also angry, you may end up saying negative statements to the child which is not good for them. That will eventually cause your relationship to deteriorate some more. And usually, children remember those words. Also, remember words are powerful. You can build or destroy with words. Since the parents are an authority in the lives of their children, what you say does matter a lot. Children will easily believe it. In the future, you might end up trying to undo the damage your words have caused. This is not to scare you or make you feel guilty. We all make mistake, but it is to make you more aware of the words you speak.