Posted in Blessings of Habit, Home School, Pre-schoolers, Who's the mom here?

A Big How-To…

"The mother"
“The mother” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A sweet mom has asked how to know if she is doing well when her toddler acts up and is rowdy and loud in public, far worse than in the home. Should she even THINK of homeschooling if this is the best she can do?

Here is my answer. You can add to it in the comments, if you like. Two heads are better than one, right?


Wow. I love your honesty! You definitely will make it through this if you keep on being honest with yourself. Good job. And being quiet is SUCH a good goal for the child. It has saved many a family during Gestapo raids.

The answer is manifold. Let’s ask a few questions to narrow in down, okay?

First, is he a sick-o?

Be sure your two-year-old is physically able to do what you desire.


Take care of his health, for one thing. If he is full of sugar and artificial ingredients, you are asking the impossible. If he is not getting enough sleep, who wouldn’t act up under his circumstances? Is he hungry? Is he teething? Does he have a cold?

Any time your physical well-being would normally tempt you to be grumpy and non-compliant, you can figure a “two” will give in to such temptation.

Think of baby Moses. Scripture tells us, “The babe wept.” What does it say about the unregenerate princess who fished him out? “She had compassion on him.” That’s what their little meltdowns are for–to cause us to take notice when they have a trouble they cannot communicate with words. (Read Exodus 2.)

It is only natural for an untrained child to act up. That’s why God gave them parents. And yes, it is your job, not that of the state. Of course, eventually you do not want him acting like a two-year-old. Eventually, say, when he is 10, you expect him to communicate his sore throat or headache or hunger pangs, but when they are two, their showing out can be life saving.

Second, have you taught him he should act wrong?

We have had a couple or little ones who were more fidgety. It really showed up in church. We always made our children stay with us during the sermon. It is a wonderful chance for the parents to teach the children to sit still and be quiet. We would let them draw or color, have a Cheerio or two now and then, fold up the bulletin, change laps from Mom to Dad occasionally, “read” the hymnal, play quietly with quiet toys, or sleep. Not much else.

If they balked or fussed, we took them out for a moment to adjust attitude, then brought them right back in and expected improvement.

People thought we were cruel, at first, keeping them out of the nursery and children’s church (although we KNOW that’s where all our colds come from) but later they saw the fruit and praised us. It was not cruelty, anyway, not with Cheerios, paper and pencil, toys, hugs, a lap to sleep on, etc. No, it was loving, caring teaching.

We don’t believe in children’s church, by the way, because it divides families during the most important time of the week.

Are you asking him to pass the test before he takes the course?

You can do most of the teaching at home. You can have a fun game called “practice being quiet”. Set it up however you think would work, and set a timer for a short, short time–like 15 seconds–then practice.

Make it fun. It can include rice “sand” play, coloring, play dough, or any other quiet activity.

Reward him with something you don’t mind him having, and that he likes a lot, such as apple chunks or pretzels or whatever suits your idea of acceptable dietary stuff. Also reward with praise and with telling him how proud Gramma or Daddy will be he is learning to sit quietly. Make it normal and fun, with toys, or whatever, but REQUIRE QUIET SITTING. If he fails, you can start the timer over a bit later, or just let him know you’re disappointed and try again later in the day. Do this daily or even twice daily. Gradually lengthen the time until you can tell him to sit quietly for a while with a timer going, like 30 minutes, with plenty of quiet things to do, and it works.

I got this idea from a book called Train Up a Child and another called Toilet Training in Less than a Day . I strongly recommend these books.

So, why do P.S. kids do “better”?

The reason public schooled children can sit and be quiet is the teachers practice “crowd control”, which is a wicked form of manipulation. No kidding, they learn how to make robots out of children in college, I guess. It is the NEA’s preparation for controlling them all their lives, for taking over the world and being the ones at the top, they think.

It will not work, actually demonstratively is not working, and has not worked in the past, but they think this time they will be different and actually succeed. That’s why they fight home schooling.

I know this sounds like the paranoid rantings of a madwoman, but they have written it in their manifesto and each year, they renew the manifesto and that part always remains, grows, and worsens.

We train our children to be individuals–not robots–to respond to proper authority, which the P.S. is not. Peer pressure at that age is astounding, and it is not our goal, with our children.

Believe me. Those kids know they are being watched and assessed, they know their futures are already being formed, and they know if the government likes them, they’ll succeed, and if not, not. Mere kindergarteners have police records for smacking someone on the playground.

Not. Our. Goal.

Are we missing the whole picture?

A homeschooled child may be acting up, especially if Mom is there alongside, say, a museum curator, because he is confused about who is in authority at that time.

The public schooled kids, on the other hand, have no doubt–when it’s a decision between mom and teacher, the teacher definitely has all authority, hands down.

Don’t take your child there.

So, do you have the time? Will you give up the time?

It takes a lifetime.

You will never feel “done” perfecting this precious child for God, but eventually you will have to let go and let him stand on his own, like when he is in college, or sometime like that. So make the best of it, while you can.

There is no trick that will make a child suddenly be good forever. It is daily, hourly. It can be tiresome, discouraging, and intimidating.

I think of it as a taste of how our Heavenly Father must feel exasperated at me.

Welcome to motherhood!

Some days it can seem like the enemy is winning. Some of the worst days will be when he is getting sick, and will make you feel like a mean mom for correcting him when he had a fever, or something else you did not know about until later.

Some days, though, people will marvel at what he knows about God.

Take him there.


So, what do y’all think? Any additions? Add them below, please!


Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

6 thoughts on “A Big How-To…

  1. Though my kids have been in children’s church all their lives, I have started leaning more and more toward keeping them with me. I’ve loved that their best friends have been made within the Body of Christ, but I need them with me. I need them to see MY example in corporate worship and study. I need them to see ME being quiet and ready to hear the Word of God. I just want them to be in the presence of Christ and his Bride WITH ME. So, yeah. That’s what I’m doing now. I โค the "distraction" of my kids being with me. "Suffer the little ones…" ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm totally cool with that.

    This also reminds me of the time I had my four kids, ages (I think) 5 and under at the time, with me in WalMart. They were NOT little angels, or perfect, but we were having a pretty good day overall. The lady in the checkout stand asked me how I did it, because she "couldn't bring her ONE child anywhere." I asked her if she really wanted to know, and she nodded. I told her, "I bring them with me nearly everywhere. I don't think kids can learn unless they're just along for the ride." She didn't really respond…

    1. Oh, Tiff, I know, I know. We always missed our kids if we experimented with channeling them off into children’s “church” which wasn’t church at all. They had no idea what worship was!
      Imaging missing your kids, actually wanting them…

      1. What’s nice is that our church actually does church in the back with the kids. They have worship, and my kids can always talk about what they learned. I’m very blessed that way, but even so – as much as I love our cc teachers, I love having them in the row with me more. ๐Ÿ™‚ Because my kids are my kids. And that’s all I need to know.

  2. I’m still a homeschooler at heart (16 yrs worth!) but am teaching in a private school. I HATE that I become the authority for these kids. I MUST be the authority because when parents show up, the kids go wild, thinking they can do whatever they please. I would have hated to have the teacher as the authority for my own children, but if you want somebody else to educate your kids, you give up the position of ‘authority’ during the day. Sorry. If you don’t like that, teach your own. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. That is right, Leah, and I think when they are on your turf, it should be your rules, and if a parent disagrees, it should be with great respect, but kids have to test that, to see who is in charge. It literally makes them nervous (and they act it!) to have two different authorities at once. As soon as someone takes charge, they settle down and cooperate. I’ve seen it many times. They just want to know where the boundaries are…
      Thanks for the comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

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