Do your kids come home from school, drop their bags and run to play? Pull out toys and leave them on the floor? Turn the reasonably clean house that you just straightened up into a toy explosion?
If I let them.
But I’ve found a way to teach kids good cleaning habits with one simple sentence.
I don’t yell. I don’t nag. But I DO repeat a simple phrase over and over again.
Actually, I repeat the FIRST part of the phrase and they automatically finish it.
Don’t put it down,”
My kids finish the sentence by saying,
put it away.”
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I started this little habit after reading how to use callouts to spiritually invest in the lives of your kids.
The callout that first stood out in the article was,
Do all things…without grumbling or complaining.”
It was exactly what we needed to focus on at the time.
After 2.4 complaining sessions (give or take), my sons not only remembered the callout – they started laughing at it! Every time we repeated the sentence, they immediately knew what it meant and what change needed to take place.
Using callouts worked so well that I immediately began to add additional memory work.
Some phrases like,
Don’t put it down…put it away.”
If it’s in my office…don’t touch it.”
have a practical application when it comes to keep our home in order.
Others are silly sentences the kids have made up like,
If it’s a stuffed animal…snuggle with it.”
If it’s a pillow in my room, throw it on the floor!”
As you can tell, they’ve had fun with callouts.
All kidding aside, my kids and I have memorized a dozen or so practical, instructional sayings over the past few months by implementing this tactic.
Of course, knowing and applying the principles are two different things. But over time, the wisdom will be engrained in their memory and they will start to apply it on their own. Until then, a gentle half-sentence reminder gives them a head start.