How to Train Up a Child?

Parents have a big responsibility. We are supposed to train and guide our precious children to the best of our abilities. 24 hours in a day does not seem like enough time for this monumental task.

Just the other day I was picking up some cold cuts at Walmart when a fellow customer stopped me and asked me what my youngest son was eating. “What” I asked, because I hadn’t given him anything. To my horror he had ripped off a piece of plastic from the shopping cart handle and was happily sucking on it. “Am I fit for this task?” I questioned myself.

We have all had moments like this. Moments that we feel appalled at what has happened under our radar. Although that moment did not deserve the mother of the year award, I am bound and determined to brush myself off, and plow forward, trying my best to guide and train my children down the right path through God’s strength. So how do we train up a child?

Training a child is…


It is making a conscience effort to instill values, as well as lead and guide them. As a parent you quickly learn that most everything has to be taught.

With my first child, Timothy, I tried a very relaxed approach to parenting. Partly due to my personality, and partly due to my thinking that things would just come naturally, For example with nap times I didn’t have a schedule. I figured he would go to sleep when he was tired. Right? Needless to say he usually got overtired and tantrums would follow. Eventually he’d fall asleep, but he needed guidance and structure.

Now that I’ve learned my lesson :) my third child gets naps at similar times most days. This helps avoid the overtired tantrums, and helps his overall disposition.

Whether it’s nap times or teaching patience, I realized I had to change how I did things in order to help train my kids properly.

Being Involved

Try teaching your children in an interactive way, that’s easy for them to grasp.

Anytime I can incorporate a game into something I am teaching them it is like a golden nugget. My kids are more attentive, and responsive. They just love it! So planning a game that incorporates what you are trying to teach is a great way to help them really get it. The other day we played a sharing game. The kids had a minute to gather whatever they could. Then they sat down, and took turns sharing one item with each other. My kids loved it.


This was one of my surprises when becoming a parent, how many times you have to say the same thing. It can feel defeating as a parent, because you really question if they are getting anything you are saying. But don’t give up hope, just keep on planting those seeds and eventually they will grow. A bad habit for an adult takes quite a while to break, how much more time do you think it will take a child?

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

A Growing Experience

You realize how many things you have to work on yourself. You set the stage for the environment in your house. If you are telling your child to be patient, but you rarely show that trait, I would not be too surprised if they are impatient. More often than not, kids mimic not only what we say but also how we do it.

Remember the Most Important Things

It’s natural to remember the essential things. For example, to brush their teeth, to change their clothes, go to the bathroom, etc… But even more important is to teach them how to love God and love others. To be kind, to put others before themselves, to share. To be children of character that live out the fruits of the Spirit. This is a hard task, and believe me the Houle household has not perfected it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t aim for it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control…

Galatians 5:22-23