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Change your habits for good – learn how to inculcate them in your child

Change your habits for good - learn how to inculcate them in your child
Change your habits for good - learn how to inculcate them in your child

Spring is a time of change for many people. Nice weather and longer days motivate to make new decisions. No wonder, it’s a good opportunity to change your life, develop new, good habits – spend more time with your family (especially actively), work less and move more, lose weight, return to your old, abandoned passion, etc. However, it often comes quickly. a reflection that we have not completed the planned tasks again, that we are useless, that we will never change anything. And again we are looking for opportunities for new resolutions, this time birthday ones, from Monday, from holidays, from tomorrow.  Change your habits for good.

Habits, or activities learned

In psychological terminology, a habit is an automated activity, behavior and response that is acquired through exercise, mainly through repetition. An automated habit in textbooks is a learned component of an individual’s behavior, formed by conscious learning through predetermined determination and automation of a primarily non-automated activity.

We divide habits into movement, language,  mental and cognitive. Psychologists and behaviorism experts say it takes about 20 to 70 days for a new habit to become operational. In practice, a period of 30 days is often indicated.

We have different habits, good and bad. It is a habit to drive a car, ski or bike, brush your teeth, call your parents in the evening. It is also a habit: eating at night, having a drink in the evening, sitting in front of the TV, putting off work until later. Of course, we want to change our bad habits and replace them with new ones that are beneficial to our health, finances, family, work or career. It is best to educate yourself and your children about the good, correct ones. Unlearning bad habits is unfortunately very difficult, time-consuming, requires self-denial, good will and regularity, and constant repetition.

Good habits – how to start putting them into practice

How to work on creating good habits? First, you have to be very clear about what the good habit we are talking about is. For example, what habits would we like to develop in our children?

  • After breakfast I take my plate, mug and cutlery to the kitchen.
  • In the evening, I brush my teeth for at least two minutes every day.
  • I dress myself.
  • I learn English for 10 minutes every day.
  • In the evening, I pack my schoolbag for the next day to school.
  • I take out the rubbish every day.
  • I put my used clothes in the dirty basket.
  • I fold my washed clothes and put them back in the wardrobe.
  • I read at least 20 minutes every day.
  • I only play the computer after doing all my homework.
  • After I come home from school, I immediately go for a walk with my dog.
  • After the fun is over, I put all the toys in the blue basket.
  • Two hours before going to bed, I don’t watch TV, I don’t play the computer, I don’t use my cell phone.
  • I sleep 8 hours.
  • On Tuesday and Friday I water the flowers in my room.
  • I do sports for half an hour every day.
  • I change the hamster’s water every day.

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The list of habits in practice could be unlimited, but remember that you cannot work on too many desired behaviors simultaneously; just six or seven will suffice. Only after developing and consolidating a new habit can we remove it from the list and replace it with a new challenge.

Developing good habits in a child

How do you work to develop these habits in a child? Certainly explain to him why he should do this, show him exactly how to perform a given activity, at the beginning help and gently remind him, praise and thank him for doing a given thing. In no way and in any way to punish for not doing something. If we want someone to develop a habit, we should praise them every time they do what we want. Such praise is a constant reinforcement of new behavior. We praise until the habit becomes permanent. Then we should praise it for its performance every now and then, occasionally, to show that we continue to appreciate the new skill or behavior.

Habit diary

And how to check the daily performance? A habit tracker can be a useful tool. It is a kind of notebook in which we mark whether a given goal, task or desired habit has been performed on a given day. Most often, we write it out for the whole month, because that’s more or less time to consolidate the behavior. One habit tracker may have separate parts for several family members. If it is more convenient for us, we can prepare several separate logs. Checking the markings on the calendar in the evening or in the morning and summing up the day can be an interesting family gathering.

The first task will be to make your own habits diary together. It’s simple – in a notebook, on a large piece of paper, etc., we make a table with the days of the month (or with thirty consecutive days, when we do not want to wait for the beginning of the month to start the challenge). We decorate it, color it and place it in a visible place. The number of lines depends on how many tasks we want to observe. Then we have to decide together and choose what habits we will put on the sheet, i.e. what habits we want to shape. And now we can start introducing changes.

You can also print a table prepared by us, which will serve as an inspiration or a ready diary.

Habit tracker – how it works

In the diary, you can clearly see the progress – selected boxes (we can color them, draw selected characters in them, paste stickers), which are our motivation. Marking yourself is enjoyable and a kind of reward, especially for children who see specific, visual effects of their actions – proof of their success. It is also a form of planning the implementation of habits and goals, because filling the grid requires previous activities. Adults have to find a place and time to throw into their often tight schedule a new task, a habit they want to develop. When we see that we do not receive a stamp for too long, we look for a way to change it as soon as possible.

Electronic media comes to the rescue

Supporters of electronic media to work with habits can be recommended several free programs. The graphically attractive Fabulous won the Material Design Awards. We choose one of the goals proposed by the application and receive new daily challenges. The program motivates to action and additionally mobilizes with inspirational quotes. For beginners, the Todoist program will be good, as it integrates with Google Calendar, and thanks to the system of rewards for completed tasks and penalties for not done, it motivates you to act well. Of course, the Google Calendar itself can also be used as a To-Do application and a tool for building habits.

Regardless of whether and what tools we use, the most important thing is the will and need to introduce changes, supported by systematic and persistent. Being aware of why we are changing and how we will feel when we achieve our goals. And most of all, starting the process of change in general! Each beginning is difficult, and yet every, even the longest journey begins with the first step. So let’s not look for new opportunities, let’s not wait for Monday, birthday, vacation or the beginning of the next year. Let’s make changes for the better from now. Good luck!