A more discipled life – habit training

The habits of the child

produces the

character of the man.

~ by Charlotte Mason

Even though I haven't been on here for the last few days, I haven't forgot about the 21 day challenge to a more discipline life. Between visitors, dance rehersals and appointments I really haven't had a chance to stop and read any more of the book. But I am happy to say I have continued with the discipline challenge. And what a difference it is making. Those simple steps of spending just 20minutes every night getting organised for the next day has made the world of difference, especially in this busy week. We have been out the door early every time, the house has stayed organised and we are all calmer. It is great.

This morning I finally had a chance for some quiet time before the girls woke (doesn't happen very often!). I read some more of the challenge. Today was all about habit training. When you really stop and think about it, being disciplined is really just about forming lots of little habits that you do every day without thinking. Think about some really simple tasks you do everyday…. brushing your teeth, brushing your hair…. you do these everyday without really thinking about it. Years and years of doing them every day have made them a habit.

Now think of your kids, espcially young kids. How many times do you have to remind them, or take them to do these two simple tasks. Most days…. everyday….. they haven't yet developed the habit of doing these tasks everyday. As a parent you need to remind them and help them daily to remember to do these tasks. In a few short years it will become habit for them and they will do it automatically just like you and me. 

Have a think about what other tasks are habits for you….. making your morning coffee…… reading before bed…… watching certain TV shows…… how you put your socks on…… how you tie your shoelaces……. even they way you drive to the shops……. you often actually think about these tasks. You just do them and probably do them the same way every time. You have done it for so long that way that it has formed a habit. It is formed a set pathway in the brain to make it automatic. But that took time, doing it over and over again until you get to the point you where you don't need to think about it.

Being disciplined is about forming habits that you do everyday to make your life smooth and easy. You don't think about habits and it will come to a point where you don't need to think about being disciplined because it will be a habit (I'm looking forward to that day!). It means not having to think about putting your shoes away when you take them off, hanging the keys on the key holder, putting the dishes in the dishwasher rather than leaving them in the sink, packing books/toys away when finshed….. How great does that sound.

The one thing that really struck me this morning was about habit training our kids. Here I am trying to develop a more disciplined life, so why not take our girls along for the ride at the same time. Teaching them to live a disciplined life as a child sets them up for live a disciplined and productive life as an adult. It helps to build their character.

I'm not going to race in with a list a mile long of habits I want them to form. I am just going to take it one step at a time. It will take effort, it will take time, but just remember the goal of this challenge….. to live a more disciplined life.




Kids being seen but not heard.

When I was out doing the yesterday something really caught my attention. Every time I walked passed a pram where toddlers and preschoolers were sitting, or passed cafes where they were having morning tea the kids were sitting very still and quiet. And I mean really still and quiet, and absolutely absored in what they were doing. Not a peep, no climbing out. Nothing. They were just quiet and still, completely oblivious to what was going on around them.

Down the next isle I heard a toddler starting to tantrum because he wanted something and he was told no. The next thing he was completely quiet. Dead silent… As I turned down the isle I noticed why…. just like what seemed to be every other toddler and preschooler that morning they were playing with the iPhone.

Wow. It really got me thinking just how techno savvy these young kids are today. You could see just how easily they could navigate their way around the smart phone or iPhone. 

I don't even have to look any further than our house where our two and half year old, Miss Minnie, knows exactly how to navigate her way aorund my iPad, and has been able to get to the movies since 18months old! I guess the kids of today just know no different. For many of them they do not know life without these wonderful devices that can entertain everyone for hours.

I guess what really got to me that day wasn't how well kids could navigate their way around the devices, but how quickly parents pulled out the smart phone or iPad as soon as the kids started to complain or get into things. What are we using these tools for? Is it just to keep our kids quiet so we can get on with our busy lives. Or is for educational purposes?

I just couldn't believe how many children I saw that day sitting in their prams being entertained by an electronic device. And every time I heard one complain or start to grizzle or start touching things the first thing parents seemed to do was pull out the electronic device to keep them quiet.

It started me thinking. What are we teaching our kids these days? or not teaching? Shopping is such a wonderful time teach kids so much whilst having some fun…. communication skills on how to interact with other each other, other shoppers, shop keepers…. manners when we purchase items or ask for assistance….. obedience of doing as asked and not touching things…… patience whilst we wait in line for our turn or not being allowed to purchase something straight away….. problem solving skills and maths skills when working out how much things cost and how much we can spend…. literacy skills when reading signs and packages….. perceptual skills of finding items, finding our way around the shopping centers (a huge effort for this country girl trying to manage in the world of Westfield)…. memory skills of remembering where we parked the car….. you can teach them numbers, colours, letters, matching, difference….. the list is endless. And it doesn't have to be boring. Shopping can be so much fun for a toddler and preschooler when they are challenged with little tasks along the way.

But are we too busy rushing from one job to another because our lives so busy (I have certainly had days like that)? Are we too busy, too exhausted and does it require too much effort to use this time teach our kids some important life skills? Is it just easierto keep our kids quiet so we can concetrate and get the job done quickly? Are we going back to the age old tradition that kids should be seen and not heard?

I think it is such a shame to see that the world of technology is creeping into every part of the lives of these young children and at such an early age. They have so much to learn in this exciting big world. Everything is a new and wonderful adventure. It is our responsibility as a parent to take their hand and lead them through these adventures…. even this simple adventure of shopping. So why are so many of us stealing these wonderful opportunities away from them? 

Now don't get me wrong. I think iPads, Tablet computers and Smart phones are brilliant devices. I have used them endlessly during my therapy sessions when working as a paediatric occupational therapist. I used it heaps with Little Miss Rapunzel as part of her therapy programs and getting her ready for school. And I've used with Miss Minnie to compliment teaching her how to do mazes, learn colours and shapes and now her ABCs. I even saw wonderful story on 60minutes the other night on how the iPad is being used to unlock the communication world for people with Autism;mothers are now able to communicate with their children for the first time in 25years.

I just wonder if we sometimes rely on them too much these days to entertain our kids so we don't have to? so we can keep on with our busy lives?

Please don't think there haven't been times when I have used the iPad to keep my girls settled – sitting waiting at specialist appointments (they never run on time!), that long car trip, even Saturday morning when they have woken up really earyl (yet again!). But it has certainly opened my eyes as to just how much I will be using it a baby sitter in the future!  

Day 4- It’s time for bed!

I don't know about you but for me this is one area where I really lack discipline. My nights are usually my chance to get that craft project started or finished, to read that book, write my blog, unload items to my shop. Just one more row… just one more chapter… Just one more item….. I get so absorbed in what I am doing that I loose track of time and before I know it it is midnight?

The result is a tired, grumpy mummy, who feels guilty because it is all self inflicted. Every time I do it I tell myself that I won't do that again…. But I do. Time and time again. Last night was the perfect example. Will I ever learn???

Guess what?  it all comes back  to being disciplined. Disciplined enough to say stop it's time for bed. Disciplined enough to not start something if I don't have the time to do it or do it properly despite how much I really want to do it. Disciplined enough to get myself organised so I have the time to do it.

It is amazing how discipline is the key to making life simple and giving us more time to enjoy the simple things in life..

Day 3 – Set Backs. Time to start small.

Today I have learnt the importance of being disciplined. Last night I got side tracked working on my 2013 diary. I just sat down other couch working on the laptop thinking  I would just working on it for an hour and then get sorted for today…. Well. Before I knew it 3 hours had past (because I just kept telling myself next set of adds and I'll finish up) and it was now 11:30pm! Way past time for bed considering the girls wake up at 6:30. I thought to myself, "ok we only have swimming tomorrow morning and the kitchen is tidy, the house is tidy I'll just get ready in the morning"

So much for being disciplined and being organized the night before!

Well this morning I realized that I had a bit more to do than just get us out the door for swimming….. Washing to hang out, a parcel to wrap and send off this morning, swimming bags to pack, morning tea to pack, dishwasher to unpack, beds to make, wheelchair to get out of the car, pram to get sorted … Hmmm maybe leaving everything 'till this morning was not such a good idea after all.

Maybe I had made the task too big. I have a habit of doing that. I am someone who plans big things and become quite impatient trying to everything now. maybe I need to slow down and start off with just one thing and not try to organise  my whole life in one hit.

Then reading over day three this is exactly what Clair had to say. If you make the task too big you easily become overwhelmed, struggle to continue and not follow through.

So I have broken my evening tasks down
1. Get bags ready
2. Get clothes ready
3. Check bread and milk (put bread on if needed)
4. Put washing on if needed (I love time delays settings on the washing machine)

Surely that won't be too difficult to do, especially since it is something I use to always do.

So have have you gone with becoming more disciplined? have you stuck with your one task and followed through? If so that is wonderful. Keep up the great work.

If you are more like me and already stumbled. Don't give up. Just start again right now. Go and do your task. If it is too big make it smaller. And take it one step and one day at a time. 

Day 1 towards a more disciplined life – Little ones are always watching

Well I did it… I made it through day 1. And wow what a difference it made… it is amazing how such a small thing could make such a difference.

What made such a difference you're asking? For those who missed yesterday's post, I have started on a 21 day challenged on making my life more disciplined. Our year so far has been crazy and overwhelming…. such a far cry from our plan of getting back to the simple things in life. Well parts of our life have taken that journey… they way we do some things and the way we look at life; we certainly appreicate the simple things in life a lot more. But somewhere along the way I lost my rountine, my organisational skills, my discipline. And as the year progressed even further and further the more I wanted it back but the more overwhelming it seemed.

As I reflected today I also thought about how disciplined I was as a mother when little Miss Rapunzel was a baby…. always organised the day before, packed away toys immediately before getting more out, housework done and sorted. Even last year things were not too bad. As a result the girls followed suit. They would keep their rooms tidy (well the best they could at that age), put toys away, and behaviour was great. One thing that has also happened this year was they have becomed less disciplined as I have becomed less disciplined. Their rooms were messy, they would pull all the toys out before packing others away, they developed some less than desireable attitudes….

Now it is not neuroscience. We all know kids learn from watching those around them. They always come up to the standard that is set before them…. well I certainly needed to pick up my game. We are responsible for teaching them how to live a disciplined life. And how can I expect them to do that if I don't…….. well that has been a big wake up call for me. I need to get on track and I need to do it now.

So today is a new day. God gave me the strength and energy to start again.

Now i didn't race in and try to do everything. I set my goal (just like Crystal suggested in her book) and I did it. I did the ironing (last nigth), I got organised the night before, I tidy things away before bed and I got up slightly earlier this morning so I could be ready before the girls got up. And wow what a difference it made…. The day was relaxing, the girls were calm and well behaved. And I got to make heaps of new things to sell in my shop….

I can't wait to read more tonight and plan what tomorrow might have install!!!! 

Now to go and get ready for tomorrow!


If you are interested in doing the 21 day Challenge, check our "21 days to a more disciplined life by Crystal Paine" You won't regret it! I have no affliation with book or author. I am purely inspired by her word and want to share them with you.


Changing my ways….

As those who have followed me from the start of my blog a few weeks ago you would know that I set up Dancing Daffodils as a way to share our journey to refocusing our life on the simple things in life. Over the last few years our life had just snowballed it a busy not stop rat race of running from one thing to another… something I am sure so many parents would totally understand from when they transitioned from a life as a couple to life as a family. Our focus was on doing life not living life and making the most of everything, including the little blessings God places along our path.

Looking back over this year I guess the reason I set up Dancing Daffodils was to keep me focused and accountable to others as we travelled this journey. Accountable to others so that I did continue along the road to the simple things in life and not once again let the busyness of life take over.

But to be honest the busyness of life has certainly captured us once again. You only have to sit in my lounge room at the moment and see the mess that lay before me; the clothes on the clothes airer waiting to be folded and put away; the basket of ironing underneath the ironing board pleading with me to straighten so we can once again enjoy wearing those clothes; the pile of almost finished projects sitting on the ironing waiting to be completed (and then maybe I could iron the clothes); the piling of dishes sitting on the bench waiting to be cleaned…… the list just goes on and on.

Last night I had to take little Miss Rapunzel up to the emergency department (she is home and ok – just experiencing side effects to a medication she is on). We were there for a few hours sitting around waiting for test results and medication to work. Whilst Miss Rapunzel sat back and watched the TV I just stopped and thought about the year we have had. The year where we were suppose to get back to the simple life…. the life of less stress…. better health….. feeling on top of things. Well it certainly has been any other than that this year.

From the outset challenges awaited us. This time last year we thought we had everything sorted out for the big move…. we had a house, therapy was sorted, specialists were sorted, work was sorted. Everything had fallen into place….. only for everything to fall apart when we moved (well not the house at least). 9 months on and only now are things sorted out. It has been mentally, emotionally and physically draining – and for those with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (& Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) you would totally understand how extra exhausting it has been; how right now I just want to curl up in a little ball in the corner and hide away for the next few weeks to just get the energy back. But I can’t. Life will just keep on going.

I also wonder just what had happened since this time last year…. I was working 2 days and managed to keep on top of everything (most of the time), had a great routine with the girls and we did heaps of fun things. Yes, things were beginning to get very busy but on the whole I managed a lot better than this year….. Yet this year things should have been easier. I wasn’t working… so I should have been able to manage.

On going to bed late last night I did a quick check of my emails and something caught my attention…. a book “21 days to a more disciplined life” by  Crystal Paine. It had only just been released in the last few days….. could that be my issue? Could that be what has happened this year? With all the interruptions this year, with everything that has gone on and by not working have I become less disciplined? Have I become so overwhelmed by it all that I always think I will start tomorrow? But tomorrow never seems to come. The more I pondered about it, the more it rings true. My journey to the simple life has certainly derailed because I have failed to keep my discipline on track. I have let so many interruptions get in the way of what should have been our year of bringing back life’s simplicities…. I have made our life more complex.

No chart, no downloaded routine, no book about how to be better organised and use my time wisely is going to be able to change where our life is right now. There is only one way that I can do that and it starts with me. I need to change. I need to change where I focus my energy; I need to change how I do things, when I do things; I need to become more disciplined in my life so we can enjoy the simple way of life.

So today I start things new. I know with God’s help and guidance I will change my life so I can be a blessing to the life of those around me. Today I am starting my 21 day challenge to a more disciplined life…… how about you ???????

(you can download the book from here)