My niece is a full-time housewife, she’d stayed at home to take care of her two sons, the older is in the first grade, the younger, just three years old, and, the “scripts” of the boys, constantly fighting, wanting her attention would be constantly on display, driving their mom nuts. Several times, I’d invited her to take her kids to stay at my place, she’d turned me down, and, I’d taken the advantage of the winter vacation, and asked her again, if she wanted to “train” her kids at a brand new location? She said yes right away this time, and so, the four days, three nights journey had begun.
From the moment they’d entered into my house, I’d made the rules like they were in winter camp, set up the rules, and, explained to them. First, language: they must speak in English with Aunt Sheryl (because Sheryl is Filipina), and, they must speak in Hakka with their great grandmother, to the rest of us, either Chinese or Taiwanese would do. Second, food: whatever great aunt and I cooked, is what they will be eating, if it’s something they loved, they could have more, but, if they don’t like it, they still must try some, and, they can tell us if there’s anything in particular they’d wanted to eat, to see if I can prepare it. Third, communications: they need to tell me what was up, but they can’t throw temper tantrums, if they do, nobody will pay attention to them. Four, schedules: head off to bed before ten at night, wake up at seven.
The fieldtrips include the Earthquake Prevention Park, the Children’s Game Room in the National Art Museum, the Illustrated Book Room, the Science Museum, the Conference Center, the Children’s Amusement Park of Zhong-Xing New Village, and volunteer with pulling up weeds and planting vegetables at the farms. And, I’d explained the rules before we’d gone to each of these places, for instance: in the museums, there’s no running, no shouting, must respect all other guests there.
My grandnephews who were once jumpy, active, in the four days I had them, became very well-behaved, young gentlemen, of course, there would be moments they were out of control every once in a while, but, I’d used the rules I’d set up. Their grandma commented, “Who says they misbehaved too much and acted up, these couple of days, they were, on their best behaviors.” Surely, changing the environment every once in a while is beneficial to the children, it could also increase the ability to adapt to different environments. So, this “training” at a brand new location is a HUGE success.
And, you can imagine, that back home, the mother of these two children probably didn’t have ANY clear cut rules, which was why they’d run out of control, driving their mother NUTS, but, after this weekend with the great aunt and grandmother, the little boys became better behaved, and, turns out they just needed someone to SET up the guidelines for what was expected from them, and someone, to ENFORCE the rules is all.