Not just P’s and Q’s: Cultivating Good Habits in Children
Good habits go beyond saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. A good habit is all about doing what is the healthiest thing for yourself. It is important to teach young ones about good habits and values right from an early age as children are naturally observant and absorb things from the environment around them.
Be who you want your child to be: Children are imitative beings, hence modelling the behavior and habits you want your children to have is an important step in the process of cultivating good habits in them. Even if you want to express that something has upset you or you aren’t happy about something, find the best way to do it, one that doesn’t involve yelling and negativity. This will teach your little ones that being upset and talking about it is healthy, and doesn’t require a fight/yelling.
Talk to your little ones: Ask your slightly older children what they feel important values and habits are. This encourages them to voice their opinions and they feel heard. This in turn builds their own self-esteem and natural inclination to form good habits.
Form and stick to a healthy routine: Ensure the entire family has a planned routine and sticks to it. Remember, repetition and rhythm are crucial for the holistic development of children. Further, a routine ensures things stay calm and organized, and also helps build discipline throughout life.
Discuss ‘wrong’ activities: If you feel your little one has done something ‘bad’ or something that is not acceptable, talk to him/her about it. Ask them why they felt the need to do so, and then calmly let them know why you feel what they did was not right. Children still are understanding a lot about the world around them; thus, a calm conversation will help them understand you better, without fear.
Keep things positive: A positive, comforting and nurturing environment ensures children feel protected and safe. This gives them a more positive outlook about the world around them, even in the later stages of life. This also enables them to feel secure while approaching parents and adults when they are confused about anything.
Encourage physical activity: Healthiness truly is happiness. Ensure your little ones get enough physical activity and understand the importance of good nutritional food, right from an early age. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or yucky, there are plenty recipes available online to makes the tastiest (and healthiest!) food. To ensure your little one has fun, stays interested and enjoys movement and physical activities, the whole family can pick an activity to do together (like swimming or cycling) or you can have a conversation with your little ones to see what activity they like best.
Reward good behavior: Let your little ones know when you appreciate something they did. A reward can even just be a verbal affirmation of a job well done. Try avoiding too many material rewards, as they may not have as much of an impact in the long run.As always, remember to do everything with joy, respect, kindness and love – the secret ingredients to happiness and success.
Parents, don’t forget to reach out and share your parenting experiences with us!