Reverence is basically the opposite of children in general. Like when you think of a crew of kids, you never think of reflective, quiet children enjoying the peace and serenity of an important moment or atmosphere. No, it’s more like WWIII as they mess up their nice clothes, scream at one another and throw things around. It’s enough to make parents insane, and the people surrounding you insane.
Part of parenthood is teaching kids certain attributes that will make sure they aren’t crappy adults. Reverence is one of them. Reverence doesn’t necessarily mean being quiet in church. It can mean appropriate behavior at a flag ceremony, an important museum, a funeral or even good behavior during a family meeting. Here are a few tips to teaching reverence to your kids.
Get them used to the quiet.
We live in the loudest world. Between people talking and televisions being on, there are also devices that seem to yell at us all day long. This is all stimulating and can keep us at a tense level. With kids, it’s even worse. Practice turning off all distractions at home and just be in the quiet. Instead of being occupied with a device or screen, try quiet activities with nothing else on. Get them used to the quiet.
Go crazy before they go crazy.
If you know you will be going into a situation where your kids will need to be reverent, let them get it out before hand. An hour before you are supposed to leave, have the kids run around the backyard or take them on a bike ride. Let them get some of that energy out! Then make sure you have enough time to get all ready and settled down before it’s time to leave. This is also helps your kids understand that we had some fun, now it’s time to bring it down a notch.
Prep them beforehand
We can’t expect kids to act a certain way if he haven’t set the expectations. If you are planning on going to church on a Sunday, prep them on Saturday night. Let the kids know you will need them to behave respectfully for Sunday church and explain to them why. Keep prepping them and letting them know what you want to happen. Hopefully, this can results in a little more reverence. And hey, you set the expectation far enough in advance that you are welcome to punish them once you get home if that don’t meet your expectation.
It’s always the most obvious answer, but our kids will behave the way we do. Unfortunately, they are always watching and will do what we do. So if you are scrolling through Facebook during a reverent moment, how can you expect your kids to be quiet? Show your focus in the moment and let your kids see you being reverent.
A bag of tricks!
One of my greatest reverence tricks for little kids is having a bag of tricks saved only for times when reverence is required. Keep a bag with things you only use for those moments and none others and then it feels special. So have a special coloring book and crayons that are only used for that. And buy the fancy fruit snacks too. Kids will be much more entertained by something they aren’t using everyday.
When all else fails…
Bribary. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Have the reward for good behavior already planned out so the kids know what they are up against. It might be a fun activity after being reverent or a special quart of ice cream hidden in the freezer. Whatever it is, let the kids know they will be rewarded for being reverent and then they can keep their eye on the prize instead of acting like tiny idiots.
What are some of your best tricks for teaching reverence to your kids?