Listening to the little things prepares our kids to listen to the bigger, more important things. Do you ask your kids over and over to do something? The other day, I had to ask my kids to get dressed 3 times. I want them to show respect by listening and doing what I say the first time. Do our kids hear our voices, or are they drowning us out as background noise because we keep repeating ourselves (guilty!).
I’m not a big incentive person with correcting, but I do think, in spurts, it can help train our kids to listen better when they tune us out. While I do think it’s most important to share verses and to explain why it’s important to listen, one way to kick-start this concept is doing a MARBLE JAR. I had to start one this week because I was losing my cool with repeating myself constantly.
Every time my kids listen the first time, I let THEM put a marble in the jar (of course, only if they’re old enough to handle marbles)- getting dressed right away, cleaning the room after asking once, etc. But I only give a marble for listening the first time and nothing else. When the marble jar is full, we’ll go get ice cream. A great verse for our kids to memorize and for us to discuss while doing the marble jar is James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen.”
If listening isn’t your thing, you can pick another issue. One rule- they cannot ask to get a marble. I don’t think this would work if you do it throughout the year, but doing it once or twice every so often can retrain our kids to listen well. My hope is that they would listen with the small things, so that when I speak about bigger things, they will also have open ears and hearts to hear me, and more importantly, hear Jesus, so his words in John 10:27 will come to life, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Feel free to share any tips you have about listening well!