How to Help your Kids Create Habits

Did you know developing and maintaining good habits is an excellent way to help kids achieve goals? Most of us know when behaviours are repeated, they have a strong tendency to become automatic — in other words to become habit. 

But the interesting part is that habits are a link between goals and the actions needed to reach them. An added bonus is that good habits foster independence and positive self-esteem! 

Why Habits Matter?

It should come as no surprise that the habits we form as children will determine our success or failure in later life.

After all, habits already dictate a lot about our lives. If we, for example, eat large amounts of food regularly and don’t exercise, we can expect to have physical consequences for our actions. That’s why it’s so important to form good habits so that we can reach our fullest potential. 

What’s even more interesting is the fact that these same good habits can help us to stay motivated when it comes to realising our goals. 

Let’s look at some tips:

  1. Reflect Make a list of the good habits you would like your child to have. Frame habits as the goal (the end behaviour) and the process (the behaviours that will reach the goal). Next prioritise them. If your kids are old enough, get them involved-this will help with 'buy-in'.Now you have a roadmap!
  2. Create the Right Environment A consistent environment with all the 'tools' is key. If you want your child to hang up their clothes, they need room in their wardrobe, plenty of hangers, a step stool if they can’t reach, and they may benefit from having a written reminder. Or having the Weekly Wardrobe like this will help. If a habit you would like to establish is reading, create a comfortable quiet place, books that are accessible, and good lighting are important.
  3. Be Consistent and Patient In the early stages of habit formation, kids need you to monitor that they carry out the behaviour consistently. Without this, enough practice doesn’t happen, and habits are harder to establish. 
  4. Reward Effort Many good habits we want from our kids won’t be all that much 'fun'. So, when they make the effort to develop the habit, give them a reward like praise or getting to put a star on their goal chart. Show them how good habits have many benefits. "It's really great you choose your school clothes on Sunday evening so we can have time to play with the cat before you go" is worth its weight in gold.
  5. Model Kids learn a great deal from watching us as their parents. When you model good habits, you not only show them how and what to do, you get personal benefits as well! Building good habits is a great way to stay on track to reach your goals. The best part? As with any habit, if you do it enough, you’ll wind up acting without thinking, making motivation an automatic part of your life.  

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