Reverence is the key to helping children, that and a little understanding. Hungry kids or ones walking around the mall for three hours are a little restless depending on their age.
Reverence is sincere respect. Offspring learn reverence at home by:
1. Observing their parents show respect for others property, others speaking, their bodies, and beliefs. When a nurturer belittles someone, doesn’t listen, speaks negatively about their body, or their own beliefs the offspring brain records and eventually emulates.
2. Practicing stillness, quietness, and gentleness for age appropriate amounts of time. If you want your child to sit nicely and eat in the restaurant practice at mealtimes. Show by example. Sometimes having sit down time at the table for coloring or reading time on the couch using soft voices helps the child learn reverence–including for worship services. Practice, Practice, Practice.
3. Reward appropriately. If they behave for five minutes in the restaurant, church, or the mall complement them on their good behavior. Repeat after another segment of time appropriate for their age. If they mess up. Remember that if the child is frustrated they need to work through it. Help them get through their discomfort and then resume the reverent manner. When we act frustrated and cranky we aggravate the situation.
4. Stay calm. Count to ten. Yes others may be looking at your two-year-old whining or the 13 and 10-year-old arguing but yelling at the offspring will only teach them to lash out when they are embarrassed.
A mother with two small children was getting a little impatient as she was trying to keep the pre-schooler sitting in the cart and the baby from falling out as he leaned over. I spoke calmly to the children about what good helpers they could be and then expressed to the mother that I had been there and for her not to worry about disturbing others. Her children were acting age appropriate with their curiosity. I noticed her speaking more calmly as I moved on.
May you thrive in your quest for reverent behavior.