5 Good Habits To Teach Your Kids
Most of us see habits as bad things. Habits, so common thought suggests, are things that should be broken.
This way of thinking would be to sell habits short. Yes, habits can be bad; and some can be outright harmful. However, this is not always the case. A habit, according to the dictionary definition, is just “a settled or regular practice”, and that means that habits can be good as well as bad.
As a parent, you can set your child on a road to a lifetime of good behavior by focusing on helping to instill good habits. Below, we’ll look at some of the best habits you can gift to your child; habits that will continue to stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
GOOD HABIT: Laughing off silly mistakes
The way that adults react to making silly mistakes can have a huge influence on our lives. Some of us feel angry when we make mistakes; others are hugely embarrassed; and some barely even notice. However, by far the healthiest response to make a silly mistake is to laugh.
The ability to laugh at oneself is a hugely beneficial character trait, and one you should encourage in children. The best way to do this is not to take any mistakes too seriously, and to follow along if they show signs of being able to laugh at their error. While it’s unwise to outright laugh at their mistake in the hope that they will join in, if they begin to laugh, then join in to reinforce that they have responded in the right way.
The above only applies to mistakes that are genuinely silly and inconsequential, of course. Some mistakes will need to be more seriously addressed. However, if the mistake is harmless, encouraging your child to laugh at themselves is a wonderful habit to instill for later life.
GOOD HABIT: Being willing to ask questions
Children like to ask questions; in fact, children will often ask their parents nearly 300 questions per day. Answering these questions can be exhausting, but ultimately, this is a behavior you’re going to want to encourage.
If your child is comfortable asking questions, then they’re going to be able to make better decisions in the future. A willingness to question things can help them resist peer pressure, by asking “but why?” rather than just following along with the crowd. Questioning will also lead to an increase in their knowledge and awareness of the world around them, which in turn will enrich their lives and potentially even improve their educational prospects.
When your child asks a question, try to answer as best as you can. If you can’t answer it, or don’t have time to go into detail at that point, then opt for positive reinforcement of the fact that they asked the question at all. This should encourage them to continue asking questions in future, which will ultimately be of huge benefit to their lives.
GOOD HABIT: Spending time amongst nature
Being amongst nature makes us happy, but modern life is not always conducive to spending time outdoors. However, if you make the effort to ensure your child spends time among nature at least once per week, they will grow up seeing this activity as valuable and beneficial. This should mean that, as an adult, they will continue the habit of seeking greenery and time outside— which will, in turn, enrich their lives and benefit their mental and physical health.
GOOD HABIT: Understanding the importance of sleep
Sleep is a vital part of our ability to maintain mental and physical health, but sadly, most of us take it for granted. A third of the population are chronically sleep deprived, so emphasizing to your child the importance of sleep is a wonderful gift for the future.
For the most part, encouraging good sleep habits is relatively simple. The key component of this is establishing a bedtime routine for kids, a process which should begin as early in their lives as possible. Bedtime routines are key to persuading children to get as much sleep as they need, so this is definitely an area to investigate. Interestingly, you will likely have the most success if you adhere to a bedtime routine also; your kids will learn by observing you, so practicing a reliable night-time routine will encourage them to do the same, and continue the habit in the future. What’s more, you’ll likely benefit from more early nights too— a veritable win/win!
GOOD HABIT: Financial management
Financial management is an essential tool for managing adult life, yet it’s something that few people are ever directly taught. Instead, we learn primarily by a process of trial and error. This means that many of us learned to manage our finances by learning what not to do, and having to rescue ourselves from minor financial meltdowns. Eventually, we begin to piece together the good habits that will stand our finances in good stead— though there’s no doubt it’s a tough learning curve.
If you want to ensure your children are able to avoid this same tough learning process, then teaching them the basics of financial management from a young age can be hugely beneficial. Budgeting is a particularly good habit to develop, as it helps them to see purchases as something that have to gradually be worked towards. You can encourage your kids to budget for every big purchase they want to make. By the time they’re an adult, they will be seasoned pros, and should thus be able to avoid the budgetary issues many young adults find themselves facing.
Of course, it would be wonderful if you could persuade your child to adopt all of these habits— but that’s not realistic. Children have their own personalities and opinions and, sometimes, even the most ingrained of habits will eventually be broken as they grow older. However, if some of the good habits stick, then your child will be able to benefit from them for years to come.