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How do I teach my child good habits?

I teach my child good habits because today’s child is tomorrow’s adult. The better my child’s habits, the easier I can deal with her. I remember the days I used to get frustrated by what my daughters used to do, and I wondered how my friends’ kids have better habits than mine. I realized that I must change my ways and help my children adapt better habits.

good habit quote

What does good habit mean?

         A good habit is a routine way of doing something beneficial physically, or mentally to self or others. Good habits can help your child cope in today’s life and prepare for tomorrow.

Good habits save your time and energy when your child already acquired them.

         Now imagine yourself having dinner with your children, good habit is when the child willingly taking away his plate and cleaning his place.

 The other scenario is when the child causes a mess and you must call him/her to remove the plate and clean the place every single time.

         That is why planting the seed of good habits in your children is a must for your own sanity.

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How do you explain good habits?

         Direct honesty is the key to everything. Once you explain what a good habit is and how this makes your child better in his own eyes, or for his safety, the child will start acquiring the habit slowly.

         I will just give a small example {which we are living at the time I wrote this post} with the COVID-19 pandemic, my children started having sanitizers around all the time. They clean the toilet before and after use, they wash their hands before touching anything, they shower in hot water…etc.

Those habits were acquired when they understood that to stay safe and healthy with the crazy illness spreading, they should follow these steps. As a result, that’s why for each habit you need to explain why it is important for your child.

How do I teach my kids new habits?

teaching good habits

Be their hero:

I teach my child good habits by starting with myself and being the hero. You cannot ask your child to not throw the clothes on the floor when you do it yourself. You should always be the model who they will look up to.

As an example: You can’t lose your patience with your child asking : “Are you stupid” when he/she doesn’t do a thing, then not to expect your child to not ask others if they were stupid.

Adding to that, you must not ask your child not to throw their clothes on the floor when they change, and you do that yourself. Start with yourself.

Explain the pros and cons:

I teach my child good habits by explaining why it is good, and what harm would happen if he/she did not have this habit. Children need to understand why they are doing a certain thing and you can relate to that by remembering the number of times your child asked “why” about everything, right? I feel you.

For example, if your child likes to sit close to the TV when he/she is watching it. Ask them why do they sit that close? And explain the side effect on their eye, neck, back…etc. maybe show them pictures of people suffering from side effects on the long run.

On the other hand, tell them the pros of not sitting closer to the TV, and how the couch is comfier, and the feels of having indoor VIP cinema.

However, that is just a small example, and you can go from there.

Set SIMPLE rules:

         When you want to teach your child a habit, set some rules to make sure the child does it right. For example: Your child throws the clothes on the floor when changing after school. You want to teach your child the habit of not throwing the clothes on the floor.

         You set rules this way:

  • The clothes should not be thrown on the floor.
  • The clothes should not be put on the bed or chair.
  • Dirty clothes go to the laundry room and put in a laundry basket.

Your rule is clear, simple, and achievable.

Remove distractions:

         Remember setting your rules point above? Removing distractions will help your child develop a good habit. For example: keeping the TV off or social media off while the family (you, your children, your spouse) doing housework, will keep your child focused.

Gentle reminders:

Adapting new habits take time, so you can remind your child gently every now and then when he/she forgets to do something. Remember when we used to hold the bicycle for them at the start until they acquire the skill and ride alone? This is exactly what we are doing here.

Reward lovingly:

         Appreciation and love are the best rewards for good habits. Saying the good things aloud and showing appreciation, fills your child with pride and satisfaction. This helps the child in understanding the positive effect of this habit.

Keep a tracker:

         You can use some trackers if the habit is related to housework. Keep the tracker nice to look at and in a place everyone can see.

Understand their {down} moments:

         Sometimes children face bad experiences at school or with friends, or hormonic changes or even bad dreams. Understand that and do not push over them hard.

Do not make them feel that you do not appreciate all the good they did all the time and erased it when they had a down moment.

Be patient:

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Habits take time to be acquired, you need to be patient. Whenever you break the patience chain, your child will feel its useless to try acquiring this habit.

be patient

What makes a habit {good habit}?

Un judgmental:

I teach my child good habits to make her life better, not because I fear how people would judge her or judge the way I raise her.

Not to impress:

Teaching the child good habits should not be to impress people about the way we raise our children. These habits should make the child happier and healthier.

Not a comparative:

Four Wheel Kids GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Teaching a child, a good habit should not be out of comparing the child with other children in school, cousins, friends, families.

Self-beneficial:

The good habit we teach our children, should help the child and be beneficial to the child in the first place.

How long does it take my child to change a habit?

Learning a new habit in general takes awhile and the time it differ from one person to another. The younger the child the more difficult it is to keep him in track.

Children lose focus fast and we should be focused on helping them to stick to this new habit.

         Your keys are consistency, patience, and focus.

Summary: 

Good habits are essential in our children’s lives and we should help them acquire good habits.

The child should understand why we are trying to teach him/her this new habit.

Teaching the child, a habit should be easy and simple if they were set by rules as mentioned above.

Children develop new habits within different period so we should be patient and focused.

Can you share with us a tip to help our children develop better habits?

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