An important character quality I want Elias to learn is self-control. One training exercise I’ve found to be incredibly helpful is something called a “Sit.N.Stay.” In short, a Sit.N.Stay is where a toddler sits quietly on a blanket or chair with a single toy for a set amount of time.
I first heard of this training method in the book Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. The Duggar family (now with nineteen kids) refers to this self-control practice as having a “playpen in your purse” (122).
It is easy to start a Sit.N.Stay. First spread a blanket out, and excitedly tell your child that it is Sit.N.Stay time. Your child will feel excited by your tone of voice and attitude. Start by sitting next to your child and tell them what a good job they are doing, but remain out of reach. If they get off, immediately correct them and place them back on the blanket.
Next you can add a toy or wait until you feel like they are used to being on the blanket. The child should not be allowed to make loud noises or get off of the blanket unless instructed by you. At the end of the five minutes celebrate with the child. Give lots of hugs and kisses.
Next practice, practice, practice! As you practice over the course of many days, and weeks, you can lengthen the time that the child is on the blanket to about thirty minutes. Eventually you can place the blanket in a different room if you so desire (Duggar 122-129).
If you think this is impossible, know that Elias does this every morning while I fix my hair. If we can do it, anyone can do it. It really can be done!
Benefits of a Sit.N.Stay:
- A child will learn self-control.
- You will have a little block of peace at home when your attention needs to be focused elsewhere.
- You can take a blanket anywhere. Your child could play quietly when you need them too in a public setting.
- If you are a nursing mom you will be able to feed your baby uninterrupted.
- You will be able to enjoy adult conversation with a spouse or a friend while your child sits nicely.
- You can cook dinner in peace.
Here is a picture of Elias doing a Sit.N.Stay downstairs.