On multiple occasions I have been asked how I get my kids to "sit still". I can't say there is this huge top secret method I use to make a 2 1/2 & 1 1/2 year old keep there bottoms glued to a chair & very happy about doing so, EXCEPT, why should there be any other option? If you tell your child to do something, they should obey immediately and not because you had to beg, plead, or bribe them, but simply because you told them to do so. Kids are smart & they know your expectations. They also know what they can & cannot get away with. This is why consistency is so very important! If I tell my girls to sit somewhere, they do it because otherwise they know, without a doubt in their minds, that there will be consequences, not just sometimes, but EVERY time they choose to disobey. Again, consistency is the key.
I have heard some parents make comments about "just letting kids be kids!", but what exactly do they mean by that? The kid should not be the boss that dictates the situation, but the parent should be the one in control. If you are not disciplining them when they disobey you, then you could find yourself (and them) in big trouble someday. Discipline and training a child is for their very safety, future & well being! For instance, if you are in the parking lot & you tell your child to hold your hand, but they choose not to listen & pull away their very life could be at stake. If your child is one day in a life or death situation, strict, immediate & unquestioning obedience is required. What will become of that child if they have not been taught to obey? No doubt when such a situation arises, it will be no laughing matter. My belief is ALL kids are capable of being obedient. Yes, children (both male and female) can and will be willful. But also keep in mind, ALL kids also love the accolades and praise they receive for being "an obedient child".
My kids are extremely happy & outgoing, once you get to know them, but they also know when I say something I mean business. I know I keep emphasizing this, but we underestimate the capabilities of our children. Asher & Aidann have been trained to sit still since they were around 15 months of age. Some parents think it is so cute when there kids act up & act out saying they are just being "a kid", but that cuteness will be short-lived I promise you. It is less cute at 7 and 8 years old or at 12 or 15 years old. As parents, we must do our kids the favor of helping them learn self-control from the very beginning and establish boundaries. They will love you for it. Children long for the security that structure & direction provide.
Just recently my girls & I attended a birthday party (go figure, lol) & as most kids ran around, my girls sat there for the whole 15 or 20 minutes attentively watching. Also, when we go to class at Gymboree, parents often let their child do as they will rather than following the class structure by participation. In both of these situations the parent often gets frustrated and gives up and give in. I am not trying to sit here & brag, I am trying to help parents out. It doesn't have to be that way. Baby steps at home is a good start.
You might be thinking to yourself, "Well, its too late now!". I tell you today that it is never too late. Will it be a little more challenging, perhaps, but you are capable & you can do it! Sometimes parents think, "Well, I will fix the problem with the younger kids", but I am telling you that your older kids deserve the same. The little ones are also going to follow the older ones example as much as you wish they wouldn't anyway. Start now. What do you have to lose? Trust me, you will gain!
1 thing I started doing with my girls when they were lil' is taking 1 or 2 minutes from the day to have them just sit there on the couch, no toys are books, just sitting. I would explain to them my expectations of them (sitting still, not goofing around, etc) & then when the timer would go off I would then excuse them. As they got older & more capable I would extend the time a lil' bit until they understood the concept. Were there times during this learning process they would get off the couch or goof around? Yes, but once they learned that every single time I would discipline them for their lack of obedience, the instances became further & further between. Also, always praise them for each success no matter how small the accomplishment.
As you may have heard, some 1 & 2 year olds are learning multiple languages, but we doubt their capabilities to follow simple instructions. They can do it! Good behavior is not impossible to achieve, but it just takes ALOT of work & consistency to get there.