Back to Back Issues Page
The Whole Child, Issue #079 First Time Obedience
January 18, 2011


The Whole Child e-zine brings you free preschool activities each week to maximize your child's potential, build skills and parent-child relationships in just a few minutes per day. Useful tips, quotes, resources, opportunities and articles will be added for extra value!

If you enjoy this e-zine, please pay it forward and send it to a friend.
If you received THE WHOLE CHILD from a friend and you would like to subscribe, please sign up at Shirley's Preschool Activities.

Hello from Shirley

WAHM Masters Course

It’s the start of the new school year here in South Africa. After months of summer holiday, my children seem eager to start, while I feel somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of juggling all of them and their different levels. Although I have been homeschooling for over 10 years, I have never had so many children to homeschool before!

In the next few issues I will try to address some of the suggestions of topics requested by my readers. If you have a suggestion or request, please hit “reply” and drop me a line, or use the Contact form on my website.

This month, I have some tips on chores (below).

Check my website

Please share any Back to School Activities that you use to make (re-)starting school fun.

Here are explanations of School Readiness and School Maturity - two different yet related concepts. It is important for parents and caregivers to understand the distinction between the two.

Other seasonal topics:

For those in the Northern Hemisphere:
Winter Preschool Activities - including winter preschool crafts,a snow ice-cream recipe, free printables, winter theme nursery ryhmes and free winter clipart.

For those in the SUNNY Southern Hemisphere:
Ocean Theme -includes a lapbook, an ocean mural and various ocean crafts.

Next month on February 3, is Chinese New Year, so you might want to plan ahead for a Chinese Theme and try this story-based lapbook project: All About Ping which you can download online.


"Sacrifices are investments. When God calls you to do something, He provides, protects and equips you with the desire, time and resources."

Randy Wilson, Celebrations of Faith

Tips & Advice

Training Your Children to Do Acts of Service (aka Chores)

To me the word ‘chores’ has such negative connotations, that in our home I set up a chart listing ‘Acts of Service’ which are required for the smooth-running of our home.

Let your child discover during his preschool training that he can make a meaningful contribution to family life and teach him to be self-disciplined at the same time!

They say that self-discipline is the best discipline. Little ones can learn to tidy up after themselves by picking up their toys. This may take vigilance and effort to enforce, but in the end the investment of time will be rewarded!

Train your children to have a good work ethic by giving them regular household duties. Even a toddler can learn to dump a diaper in a bin or place dirty clothes in the laundry basket each day.

A three year old can pack away clean “everyday” dishes and plasticware if they are placed with reach. The occasional breakage is the price of education!

At preschool age, a mother should often work alongside her child, helping, directing, training, encouraging and praising junior for her efforts….and don’t always redo the task for her, if it is not perfectly done, rather praise your child for her achievement and her helpfulness. Some tasks you can do together:

  • make beds
  • sort clean laundry and take the piles to the correct bedroom
  • peel vegetables
  • set the table for meals
There are surely many others too, but start with a few. In a large family, you could also pair an older child with a younger child as the helper.

Also, if you have a good attitude towards your work it will rub off on your child.

There is also a wise saying that says we should allow our children help us while they still want to. This means that our work may take longer or may not done to perfection by the child, but the benefit of the time spent will be reaped in the future as the child becomes more proficient and able to do tasks alone to help you.

Allowing them to help also helps them develop self-confidence, self-worth and a sense of being capable. Many adults lack those traits because their mothers did everything for them, or redid what they had done if it was not done to adult standards.

Give your child specific instructions, especially for big jobs like tidying a messy room, for example say “Pick up the clothes” and then “pick up the toys”. Breaking the task into smaller ‘bits’ makes it less daunting.

I often say to my children, “put away 5 (or 10 or 20) toys first” and when that is done, then I give them another number of items to pick up. (This is a great way for little ones to practice counting too!)

Most importantly, teach your children the meaning of the words: “FIRST TIME OBEDIENCE” and train them to obey you promptly, with appropriate consequences for delays or disobedience.

Look your child in the eye and make sure she is focused on what you are saying. Give your instruction and tell her you expect “first time obedience”. Tell her that being slow to obey is disobedience which will be punished. If necessary, make sure your child knows what is expected by asking her to tell you what she has to now do. Then tell her to go do it “first time” or “at once”.

Don’t keep nagging or reminding or counting to three – just ACT and calmly enforce the pre-meditated consequence if you don’t get first time obedience.

Showing mercy just serves to increase your frustrations in the long term! There is nothing more frustrating than expecting that a task is being done, to return and find a child dawdling or doing something else. We’re working hard on this one at the moment!

For more inspiration read 8 Goals for Preschool Training


I recommend that you click on the banner below to see a quick video explanation of how a website can earn you money!

SBI Video Tour!

Readiness Activities

The following activities are aimed at ages 3-5. For older or younger children, adapt the activity to their ability. To download the activities in a printable pdf, click here.

You will need to have Adobe Reader installed. It’s a free download.

Repeat these activities often - with your own variations too!

1. Gross motor skills

Balance: Draw a line at least a metre long on the ground and ask your child to walk heel-to-toe along the line.

2. Fine motor skills

Cutting: Encourage your child to cut with safety scissors. Make sure a left-handed child does not have to use right-handed scissors. Here are some ideas:

  • Cut long strips of paper that you have prepared into shorter pieces.

  • Cut a piece of paper in half along a line.

  • Cut out shapes like big squares and circles drawn on paper.

  • You could also help your child with a Snowflake Cutting Craft or a Concertina Cutting Activity

    3. Visual skills

    Colour perception:Let your child build sticks from construction blocks using alternating colours. Encourage her to make her own patterns using the various colours.

    4. Auditory skills

    Auditory Closure: While tidying up or doing chores, whisper instructions to your child so that he must listen attentively.

    5. Mathematical skills

    Time: Talk about different times of the day such as this morning, this afternoon and tonight or this evening. Help your child to become familiar with the routines in your home at different times of the day and to be able to talk about them correctly.

    6. Language and thinking skills

    While looking at a picture book together, ask your child questions about the objects in the pictures. For example:

  • What is that? A broom

  • What do we use it for? Sweeping the floor

  • Where do we keep it? In the kitchen

  • 7. Faith-building

    Read a Bible story to your child and then share how a lesson or an example can be learned from what was read. For example, in the story of the Daniel, he chose to obey his Father in Heaven and not man.

    Greetings until next month


    P.S. Five years ago I started my preschool site and now I earn more from home than other women who work full time jobs.
    If you'd like to learn more about building an income-generating website like mine, click on the SBI banner!

    Special SiteSell Promotion

    About My Site

    Home l Preschool Themes l l Ideas by Subject l Preschool Curriculum l Homeschool Help l Free Kids Games l ABC Fun & 1-2-3 l Free Printables

    Back to Back Issues Page