I read about this in Miriam Adahan’s book Raising Children to Care. (Excellent book, by the way!)

She writes about how when you are trying to instill in your children positive patterns and behaviors, it won’t work to teach them at the time of panic.  Just like in a fire drill there is no tension because everyone knows it’s not a real fire, making drills in your home to teach proper behavior patterns can also be fun and worthwhile when the tension is eliminated.
 
One example she brings in her book to explain the concept of drills is the following:

Everyday the children come home from school and instead of hanging their coats up nicely they throw their coats on the floor. One day, drill them on hanging their coats up properly.  Have them put their coats on, go out of the house, come back in and immediately hang up their coats.  Do this a number of times to erase the old program and instill the desired action instead.

We tried this in my house a few months ago.

After we tucked our kids into bed at night they would continuously call us to cover them. One night, when my husband couldn’t take it any longer, he decided to have a drill with them.  He told my kids to all get into bed. He covered all of them and then told them to roll around under the covers and when he said stop they all had to quickly cover themselves.  Then he told them to pretend to be sleeping and he pulled the covers off of each of them.  When he said “cover” they all had to cover themselves.  He continued with a few more fun drills like that until he felt that they could all cover themselves properly. 

That night, after saying good night and shutting the door, we sat down to eat our dinner. A few minutes later we heard a faint “Abba, cover me.”  :)





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