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Friday, January 27, 2012

Quiet and Still: Teaching Self-Control

To instill self-control in her children--especially her energetic little boys--Michelle uses a process that she calls Quite and Still (similar to Blanket Training, but without the toy). From the time they are young, the mother of many teaches her kids to sit quietly and slowly increases the length of time.

"It's not waiting until they do something wrong to correct them, but actually taking moments to train them," explains Michelle in our July 2011 interview. She recommends starting with increments of five minutes. 

Here's how it works:

"I'll sit him in a chair, and I'll say, 'Okay, Mommy's going to sit beside you, and you're going to practice being still and quiet...yes ma'am?'...We may do that two or three times a day for about a week, and usually they catch it."

"What they're learning is self-control. (Click here for the Duggars' list of character qualities)...They're learning to obey Mommy's voice." One of Michelle's favorite mantras is "The first time I say it, you obey it."

"Then it can be transferred to when you're in the grocery store and they're sitting in the cart....They can learn to do that wherever they are because it's trained in their little hearts."

Michelle also stresses the importance of pouring out the praise. She and Jim Bob believe that one of the most vital parenting tips is to "praise your children ten times more than you correct them."

22 Comments (Click Here to Add Yours):

Amy-Louise T said...

I wondered how they implement the character qualities. Its one thing striving for them in older children, but helping the little ones to understand them is almost more important, because they grow up following them subconsciously.
We would be grateful if you could continue posting more information about this.
Amy-Louise T

Kim ( U.K ) said...

Wonderful advice from Michelle. God bless x

Becca said...

Amen! Michelle is such a wise momma! I have tried many of her parenting tips with the kids I nanny and they work! I hope I can meet her someday :)

Anonymous said...

Her wisdom comes from above. Any mother that can control that many children with her loving voice is blessed from above. I admire Michele very much. I think the key here is love and praise...children should never be left to feel they are a burden or a trouble. If we teach them they are a joy, as Michele does, they will be more willing to please.

Johanna said...

Great advice!

Libby said...

that sound like great advice! Thank you Michelle!

Brittany said...

Thats a good idea. I'll have to try that.

Anonymous said...

Such a great mom. She seems to do everything with love. I admire her patience. She is a true role model.


Lilla said...

What age would she start it?

Anonymous said...

great advice, I don't understand how she does it without having to raise her voice.I wonder if she ever do raise her voice though, and what happens when they don't listen? In any event, I admire Michelle and the way she is with her family. I use some of her tactics with my own children, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't because I am not consistent..So maybe I'll get better in the future, lol

Lily and Ellie said...

Hi Lilla (love your name!),

Michelle starts "quiet and still" training with her children as early as possible. For little ones, the starting time might be reduced to one or two minutes. Each child responds differently.

Hope this helps!
Lily and Ellie

MrsStephanie81 said...

I was just wondering how do you work that w/children that are much older & had a harder early childhood. I have 3 girls that I adopted at different ages & where the one that I have had since 3 months old I have no trouble really to get her to do as I say. now her lil sister 4 & bigger sister 8 it's much harder especially w/4 yr old's FAS & Sensory Processing Deficit problems. Do you have any ideas of how to reach them w/out having to raise my voice as I see you do time & time again!? I have seen such a great amount of change from them both but have a lot of work to do to get there!
I would love some transitional times ideas due to her slight OCD it's the worse meltdown time for her!?! you guys are such amazing parents & I see the love in all of your family! God Bless You all for showing the world that it CAN be done!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the blanket technique actually is?

Anonymous said...

Whats a blanket technique?

Lily and Ellie said...


Hi Anonymous 13 and 14,

Starting when her children are toddlers, Michelle teaches them to play quietly with a toy for short periods of time, often while sitting on a blanket. Blanket training teaches small children to exercise self-control in any situation (with or without a blanket).

Hope this answers your question:)
Lily and Ellie

~Lily and Ellie

Henry, Sullivan, Matt,&Me! said...

So if the child (say he's 20 months old) wants to get up from the blanket, or chair, what should a mom do then? Should she tell him uh uh sit back down please.. this is still and quiet time?

We have quiet time in our house, usually as my youngest is nappy, and my 4 year old is sitting being quiet either doing school work on the computer (we plan to homeschool) or reading a book (not really reading but he likes to pretend) or playing with a toy quietly, he's great at this. Taught him to play quietly by himself and be content at an early age. My youngest is a bit more strong willed.. If I "made" him sit there he would have a temper tantrum, I guess my question is for Michelle if she ever reads these, is what would I do to keep my child there (when he is a Strong Willed child)? Thanks!

This blog is great, I love reading it.

Anonymous said...

"So if the child (say he's 20 months old) wants to get up from the blanket, or chair, what should a mom do then?"
she smacks them with a ruler. truth.

April Palmer said...

Yes, true! She smacks them with a ruler, etc. The truth is, the children are too scared to move.

Anonymous said...

Are you really supposed to smack them if they get up or whine? Because I would like to teach self control but don't want to hit my children. I feel that hitting is the opposite of showing self control.

Lynne said...

Lily and Ellie, I hope you come back to answer this because I'm fairly sure the children aren't hit with a ruler! On the episode last night that I watched, JB mentioned Jessa was a strong-willed child growing up. :)

Leah Ryon said...

I am not sure how the commenters would know that, especially not being there in the Duggar home when it happens, but from reading the front page of the blog, it sounds like they reward good behavior more often than showing any kind of harshness. I would assume, they just sit them back down and encourage the toy/toys and she did say a short time, so maybe like 5-10 minutes..... I think it's a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, about the blanket training. It does involve smacking with a ruler but it is not harsh like it sounds. I am familiar with blanket training and it is what the Duggars use because before they were famous Michelle was part of an online forum that discussed blanket training. Basically you get one of those flexible rulers and you sit them on the blanket with a toy. If they try to get off the blanket then you give them a little smack, it isn't even as hard a smack, just enough to get attention. It takes time for them to understand it, it won't happen over night. But at such a young age they don't know what 'no' means so its like giving them a little pinch and eventually they realize "if I get off blanket= pinch" "staying still = no pinch." It probably sounds harsh to some but it really isn't bad or anything. I know some are fully against it but the truth is that a little flick of a ruler won't hurt them. And yes the Duggars are all for praising more than punishing, this is just something they use to curb their kids behavior before they know what words mean.

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