Creating good habits at a young age can profoundly have a positive affect on your child’s future success. And, if you are like every other parent, you only want the best for your child.
How do you help your child develop good habits?
It starts with a 3 step process…
1 – Model the behavior you are looking for. Yes, I know, it can be hard to feel like you can never let your guard down. That not the case though! Do your best to model good habits and when you do catch yourself engaging in a less than positive habit, stop and explain to your child that “even adults have to continually work on developing and maintaining good habits.”
2 – Catch your child doing the right thing. I actually believe this is the most challenging of the three steps. When you do catch your child doing the right thing praise the effort, the focus, and/or the intention rather than the outcome. You do not want your child to believe that your love for them is dependent upon a certain outcome; however, you do want to teach your child how to be focus, to put effort into tasks, and to intentionally think about doing the right thing.
3 – Make habit formation fun! Think like a child. For example, brushing the teeth. Instead of telling your child to go brush his/her teeth, ask your child “what toothbrush are you going to use tonight to brush your teeth? The super cool one or the funny one?” In order to do this, you have to be a little prepared; although, the little extra effort in the beginning will save time every evening. Bring your child to the supermarket and have them pick out 3 or 4 different toothbrushes. When you go from telling to asking, in this case, your child will feel like he/she has more control of the situation. Plus, you are developing independence; a goal every parent has for a child by the time the child reaches adulthood.
I know being a parent can be overwhelming so start small. Pick one habit you want your child to develop over the next month and focus on that habit all month long. They say a simple habit will take the average person 21 days with more complex habits taking up to 254 days with average being 66 days. So, stay patient with both yourself and your child.
Be kind to yourself as you navigate life. Remember, everyone makes mistakes and it is normal part of life. The best part of life is you always can make a different decision or a new choices.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of helping your child developing good habits? Leave a response in the comments.