Moms

How do you get kids to sit still? The Duggars to the rescue

June 8, 2011 at 11:55 AM ET

We asked you to give us questions for the Duggars, the stars of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” who made a recent appearance on TODAY. This is the first of several that we’ll answer -- with video! -- in the coming weeks.

Watching the Duggar clan in action, it’s always amazing to see how little chaos there actually is in a family that’s just shy of fielding two football teams. (Especially considering that some of us – ahem – have more craziness with just 2 kids.) Just how do the Duggars get all their kids to sit still while, say, they are getting ready for a TODAY show interview?

Well, finally, we've solved the mystery, thanks to TODAY Moms reader Lisa Eubanks of Mobile, Ala., who had a question for Michelle: Would you mind explaining better the “self-control” exercise you practice with the children in where they must remain sitting in a chair. At what age do you start this?

Michelle says her goal with each of her kids is to teach them to be still and to learn to be quiet when they are still. The age to begin depends on the child, but most of her kids were around 17 months old.

Michelle starts with 5 minute training sessions, and has the child sit quietly in a chair. She makes sure to show them by example. And then she coaches them with friendly reminders that are meant to make the exercise exciting: “This is sit down time.” “Be still, like a statue.” “Try not to blink!”   

The whole idea, she says, is to teach them to practice self control. “It’s not, ‘Mommy’s making me do it.’ It’s ‘I can do it! I’m a big boy or big girl!’”

Michelle suggests doing it three times a day, and that after a week of practicing you’ll start to see a change. She adds, it’s a game-changer for that “crazy hour” that’s right before dinner.

See the video of Michelle explaining the sit-down self-control method here.

What do you think? Have you ever used this method at home, and if so, what kind of results did you have?

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