Every day is a new day! The Age Tool reminds us that every day our kids are getting older. And with age (and with our non-stop patience and teaching), our kids are learning. They are becoming more wise and more capable, and we should give them the opportunity to show us simply because they are in fact a day older. The Age Tool allows us to empower our kids with each new day to get things right…to try things again…to behave more appropriately…to be more kind, responsible, respectful, etc. because every day is a new day! The Age Tool allows us to stay calm and simply remind our kids about the power of their age and the increased decision-making skills that come with it!
The Age Tool is easy to apply to your parenting toolbox. Remember the goal is to empower your kids with their age.
Note: As kids get older, it’s OK to have them wait even longer than a day. It’s up to you how much older they have to be to try again–a day, a week, a month? I’ve had our tablet put away for months (and I don’t miss it at all!) 😉
Here are a few practical examples:
- FOOD DISLIKES: Your child can try broccoli again and again and again and again because “he’s a day older today.” And that works for any food. How many times do we stop serving a food to a child because they don’t like it once? Trust me, The Age Tool allows you to empower your child every single time you have broccoli to see if they like it now that they are a day older. Sometimes they will. Sometimes they won’t. But the point is that you let them decide.
- THROWING TOYS: Your child threw a toy. You can take it away and say: “Throwing toys is not OK. I’m taking it away for the rest of the day. You can try again tomorrow when you’re a day older.” Then the next day, you can ask: “Do you think you are old enough to play with this toy without throwing it?” Then give your child an opportunity to try.
- ELECTRONIC FITS: Your child refuses to turn off electronics when he/she is asked. You can set up in advance that if this happens, the privilege of using the device will be taken away until he/she is older. Yes, you can try again the next day. If they keep being unable to turn it off day after day after day without a fit, it’s OK to have them be much, much older before they get to try again. I’ll say: “You need to be a week older to try this one again.”
- CELL PHONE CONTRACT BROKEN: Your child brought his phone in his room despite the fact that the rule is that phones are not allowed in bedrooms. Hopefully, you have it set up in advance that if the phone is brought into the bedroom that it’s taken away for a day (with older kids, you will need to be very specific—a full 24 hours!) When they are a day older, they can try again to respect the rule. You can add to the contract that if it happens again, it will be a week.
Then don’t forget to thank them for proving just how capable they are when they do get it right along with the good choices they are making and the character traits they are building!
- “Your body thanks you for choosing to eat that healthy broccoli!”
- “You are really showing such self-control/respect/responsibility when you play with that toy without throwing it.”
- “Remember that you are in charge of the electronic device. The electronic device is not in charge of you and when you can turn it off without a fit not only are you showing self-control, but you are also respecting our family rules.”
- “It really helps our family work as a team and builds a strong trust-bridge when you respect the rules we’ve set for cell phone usage. Thank you.”
Imagine the possibilities when kids start to see just how strong and capable they are!
My husband and I love stir fry. When my daughter was a toddler, she didn’t like stir fry at all. Every time we gave it to her, she would just pick at it and end up leaving it on her plate. Everyone else in the family liked it but her. It was so frustrating. We refused to stop having stir fry. So every time we had stir fry, we would have her try it to see if she liked it now that she was a day older. She didn’t. For over a year, we had stir fry off and on and she never liked it. Then one day, she decided that she was old enough to like it! And now it’s her favorite food. I’m so glad we used The Age Tool and never gave up on empowering her with age. Now she doesn’t like salsa. LOL!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23
Lord, your love and mercy never end. Thank you that they are new every morning. Guide us in how to offer that same love, mercy, and grace every single new day to our kids.