Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. After all, you’re responsible for making sure that a little slice of the next generation is going to grow up into a stable, balanced person. No pressure! However, parenting is also one of the most fulfilling jobs that a person can have. Seeing children grow into the people that they will become is a wonderful experience. For this reason, it is important to make sure that our kids are developing the habits that will make them better people, later in life. This means instilling these traits in them while they are young. Here are some tips on how to teach your kids good habits…
Teach them early
First of all, it’s important to note that you can’t just try to teach your kids to be better people when they are older and more resemble your idea of an adult. Values need to be planted in children when they are young. Because of this, don’t be afraid to start teaching your kids good habits early in their development, and keep up on them about it. Remember, your kids are learning from the time they are born. Everything their ears and eyes take in from that point is a lesson that may or may not stick with them. Children listen, even if they don’t obey.
Make sure they take care of themselves
First of all, kids need to learn how to take care of themselves, if they are going to be balanced human beings that are able to function in the great wide world. Because of this, it’s important to teach kids healthy habits and keep on their case about it.
Teach your kids how it is important to eat healthy, and how they will enjoy a treat even more if they learn to moderate. Also establish a good morning routine that you make sure your kids practice every day. This shows them the importance of hygiene. This means more than just brushing their teeth before running off to school, habits like flossing are only going to stick with kids later in their life if they are practiced, early on.
Understand that kids need to be social
The good habits that kids should be learning goes beyond what they are doing to improve their health and hygiene. It’s also important for kids to learn social skills that will help them thrive and succeed later in life. Learning how to get along with other people is the type of skill that can be used in so many facets in life, from business and education, to having fulfilling relationships. Learning how to be social when you are young also helps you learn how the social landscape changes, when you get older. As much as we hear about the negative effects of peer pressure, connection with peers is actually more often an excellent insurance against depression, behavioral issues, and even substance abuse, as this article states.
Use games to teach important ideas
Sometimes, when you want to teach your kids how to do useful things, such as organize their stuff or make a budget, they are almost certainly not going to want to listen. After all, from the mind of a child, who is discovering new things everyday in a world that is consistently vibrant (especially when everything is new), these things are boring! For this reason, it can be incredibly helpful to use games to teach them skills like this. Even games that might seem frivolous can be used to teach useful things. Pokemon Go, for example, has gotten millions of kids outside and running around, which is something that is increasingly hard to do today. I know it’s weird, but I’ve found that it can also be a fun way to teach kids to stay organized, as this chart shows.
Always keep an open line of communication
Most importantly, perhaps, the biggest thing to remember is that your kids are people too, and that they are experiencing everything in the world for the first time. It’s your job to guide them through their childhood, but also to let them become independent and make decisions on their own (even if they aren’t always the right ones). The key here is that they should always feel like they can talk to you. Keeping an open line of communication with your kids helps build the trust that will last well into adulthood.
Set the example
If you don’t practice what you preach, all of your good advice will be a drop in the bucket compared to the example that you’re showing your child. If you want your child to have healthy habits, take good care of your own health too. If you want your child to be open-minded and considerate, practice it in your own life in the little moments that you don’t think are learning opportunities. Your children are watching, even when you don’t realize it. How often have you heard your child say something that you didn’t think they’d heard you say? I know it’s happened to me once or twice. Actions will always speak louder than words.
Thank you, Alek for contributing this lovely post about Teaching Healthy Habits To Your Kids. I know that I’m guilty of not always practicing what I preach, what about you lovely reader?