Building A Solid Foundation Both Now And For Their Future
As parents and caregivers, we all want what’s best for our children. We envision a future for them in which they are happy, healthy, thriving, enjoy deep and meaningful social connections, and have the skills and tools to meet the challenges that life will inevitably throw at them. There are a lot of worries involved with parenting, but the good news is that we can use our vast influence to help our kids create great habits. Not only will this help them in the here and now, but it’ll help them build the self-control and self-motivation they’ll need to succeed in the future.
So how can you help your children learn good habits? Read on to find out!
Set A Realistic Goal
Nothing dampens excitement and enthusiasm more than not knowing where to channel it – and this is especially true for children. That’s why the most successful people always set goals for themselves. In particular, they set goals that are specific, measurable, relevant, and able to be achieved in a reasonable amount of time. These goals should be kid-directed and parent-supported and should be age-appropriate.
For example, if your family as a whole wants to exercise more, your five-year-old might make it their goal to come with a parent on the daily dog walk. Your sixteen-year-old, on the other hand, might want to run every morning or spend time lifting weights at the gym five days a week.
Explain The ‘Why’
Have you ever been demandingly told what to do by an authority figure with no explanation as to why? Did it leave a bit of a sour taste in your mouth? Like adults, kids want to know the reason behind your requests. And since so much of kids’ energy is spent trying to make sense of the world around them, it’s even more important for you to take the time to explain the reason behind the goal. Kids will always respond better to the suggestion that they build a good habit if you take the time to explain to them why this habit is important.
Make Sure You’re Consistent
Studies show that it takes 66 days at a minimum to form a new habit. So even when it might be hard, try to help your child work on their new habit every day. Again, there will be lots of flexibility at play here, especially as you’re trying to work around school and activity schedules. Remember: goals are great guidelines, but as in everything related to parenting, make sure their day-to-day application is flexible. If your sixteen-year-old wants to exercise every day and your family goes on a hike on a weekend, that counts! If your five-year-old wants to be in control of their screen time (as most five-year-olds do… right?), make allowances for days when they’re too sick to do anything but veg. Just make sure the application is consistent, and eventually, it will simply become a part of your family’s lifestyle.
Notice And Praise When They Achieve
There’s nothing more wonderful to a child than the praise of an adult they look up to. Because of that, it’s vital for you to notice when your child achieves their goals (or is trying really hard) and to praise them for it. Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement for helping your child stay motivated and reach their goals.
What ways have you found to help your kids create healthy habits? Comment below and share your wisdom with us!