PARENTING GUIDELINES TO PROMOTE GOOD HABITS
Successful people are simply those with successful Habits.
Habits are powerful as they create neurological cravings and these cravings can maneuver our life style. Habits can play an important role in simplifying things for us as it is something we do without thinking much about it. They can save us a lot of physical and mental strength as they are automatic.
Although old and worst habits are the hardest to break yet the good thing about habits is that we can change them and develop them. Since, habits become you, the habits that you chose to follow set the tone for your entire life.
We all have days when we don’t feel like working, exercising or eating well, but when these things become your habit they develop as your thought pattern for life.
To help you understand the importance of developing positive thinking and good lifelong habits, we offer the following tips for how to help your child develop a healthy mindset and lifestyle:
25 WAYS TO ENSURE GOOD HABITS IN YOUR CHILD
1. KEEP THINGS POSITIVE:
Having a positive frame of mind is extremely essential for you as a parent during your child’s initial years. Everything you teach him now will leave a mark on his thought pattern. The last thing you would want is to see your child take the route of pessimism and depression as a teen or an adult. Adopt a positive frame of mind yourself, and make sure the environment at home is happy and comfortable.
Often, children who develop suicidal nature and tendencies to harm themselves, the root causes usually lies at home. These could be many, such as not finding comfort or safety in the place of upbringing. So make sure your home is an abode where your child feels safe and comfortable.
Never use abusive words or fight in front of your child, this will vitiate the positive atmosphere of the house and the child will learn the wrong things. Children who experience domestic violence grow up to be insecure and violent.
Here are some points you can keep in mind as parents to maintain a positive atmosphere at home:
• A positive, calm, nurturing and comfortable home environment improves parental vision.
• You should encourage cooperation and not competition.
• No coercion and only communication is advisable.
• Don’t call your children with negative names. Use respectful and encouraging words to foster a feeling of security and trust.
• Always be approachable and amiable. Your children should feel free to communicate with you and ask their queries. Be like a friend to your child.
• Be a patient listener and give importance to your child’s opinion. Also explain your viewpoints.
• Your children should contribute according to their abilities.
• Never compare your children since each child is unique. Recognize and appreciate his individuality.
• Spend quality time with your children and also keep separate time for family activities.
• Believe in your children and the children will believe in themselves. Look at their talents and achievements and not their failure.
• Encourage the children to learn from their mistakes.
2. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS:
One of the most important factors to remember while bringing up your child is to keep your expectations realistic. Your child is bound to make mistakes at some point of time, and you need to deal with it patiently and gracefully.
Remember that your child is still small and inexperienced, and he will most likely emulate what he observes around him.
Children will learn to do what you expect from them if your expectations as a parent are realistic. As parents you have to realize that children don’t learn at same rate and within the same time frame and with the same ease. Nor can they reach a uniform level of achievement even when they grow up to be adults. Even though, parents are aware of this still they have high expectations from their children. Naturally there will be some expectations but they shouldn’t be unachievable expectations or beyond their nature and capacity.
Sometimes rosy expectations can inspire parents to spend quality time with their children and give their children enough support to use their potential to the maximum extent. However if unrealistic expectations exceed the potential that the child has, it can be harmful for the child’s development and self-esteem. So, parents actually need to be patient for the child’s skills and interests to develop in his formative years.
If parents are high achievers they expect their children to reach that level. However, as parents you should realize that children’s job is to learn and play. So let them enjoy their childhood and don’t bog them down with your expectations. You can’t expect adult behavior from little children! Parents often feel exasperated by their children’s behavior, all they want is your attention and that is an example of normal behavior from children.
3. ENCOURAGE FAMILY BONDING:
Family time is extremely important for a growing child. Introduce him to the different members of your family; explain how they are related to him and how he should be treating them. This way, he will learn to value people around him and as well be learning the importance of family right from the beginning.
You can arrange indoor and outdoor games, family picnics and get together, potluck and other fun activities to encourage strong family bonding. Children from broken homes suffer from social maladjustment whereas children coming from homes where family relations are really strong grow up to be confident and have a positive outlook.
4. SET STRONG GROUND RULES:
As a parent, it is extremely important for you to set down rules for your child, especially after he has started his school. Now is the time to make a routine time table for your child. Set out fixed hours for playtime, homework and screen time. Give him 15 minutes every day to clean his room and an hour to relax outdoors.
Try to make a flexible routine and don’t be too strict while allocating time for study and play. Keep adequate time for playing as sports help in both physical and mental development.
5. MAKE HIM UNDERSTAND:
Probably the most important aspect of growing up is to make your child eat healthy food. Childs good habits always need to start early. If your child insists on picking up a pack of 2-minute noodles from the supermarket, ask him to read out the ingredients on the label. Explain him why he should not consume instant food with harmful ingredients like sodium glutamate that can cause health complications in the long run. Educate your child about the importance of having a nutritious diet as compared to junk food.
6. REWARD YOUR CHILD:
It is a great idea to reward your child for his good behavior. This will keep him motivated and will help him stick to being at his best behavior always. However, a key point to note here is to avoid rewarding your child with materialistic things like chocolates, an hour of TV and the like. Make the rewards intangible – a hug, a word of appreciation etc.
Reward your child with good experiences- this way; he will learn that happiness lies in enriching experiences rather than worldly pleasures.
7. ENCOURAGE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
Believe it or not, the children today are more likely to be affected with lifestyle related disorders like childhood obesity, diabetes and even high blood pressure. So if you don’t want your child to be a couch potato in his early years, encourage physical activity right from the beginning. Get into the park along your child with a ball and play with him. You can also get him enrolled in swimming classes- a good way to keep him fit and active.
8. STAY INVOLVED:
No matter how busy you may be in your day to day work and chores, you must make it a point to be involved in your child’s life. Make sure you are updated about where he goes, the kind of friends he has, and how he’s doing at school. It is a great idea to have a short chat with your child after he comes back home from school- it’ll keep you updated of your child’s emotional status.
9. FAMILY DINNERS:
Family dinners are an excellent way to inculcate the habit of healthy eating in your child. If the family sits together for dinner, your child is less likely to consume unhealthy foods and will be more in touch with the family. It also nurtures the feeling of bonding in him.
10. SHOW RESPECT:
Respecting elders is something you would want your child to build as his etiquette. If you haven’t done that already, it’s now time to encourage him to do the same. Read out bedtime stories that talk about children seeking blessings from the elders and helping them out with their activities. It is also a great way to help your child connect with his grandparents.
11. GOOD MANNERS – AN EARLY START:
It’s never too early to start finding good habits for children. Encourage him to use phrases like Thank you, Welcome and Sorry where appropriate. The best way to do that is to use these phrases in your interaction with him and other family members. You can also give examples of good mannered children that your child may know, but make sure you don’t go overboard and start comparing.
12. INDUCT GOOD LITERATURE:
Reading out stories to your child from a book makes a significant difference. Good literature has an effective way of inspiring children to behave in a correct manner, follow a code of discipline and have a positive outlook in life. Get some good books from your local store and read out moral based stories at bedtime.
You can read aloud stories of famous authors so that the child’s command over the language becomes strong.
13. COMMUNITY PROJECTS:
Help your child understand his role as a citizen by involving him in community projects. This will encourage him to do something for the greater good. Your child will derive immense satisfaction by helping and serving others. One great idea is to help him plant trees or be a part of a social campaign. Social responsibility is a great way to create awareness in the young mind and get him motivated for a good cause.
Involvement in social projects also helps your child to remain grounded and become more aware of his good fortune as compared to the under-privileged.
You should instill the value of social service to your child. If you teach orphan children or visit an old age home try to take your child along with you and interact with the children and the elderly people. He will feel good and also learn to work for a noble cause. Also check whether the child’s school also inculcates the value of social service. Values learnt at childhood stay with him throughout his life.
14. MANAGE POCKET MONEY:
This one is probably one of the most important factors in most households. Thankfully, it isn’t that tough. Try and get a rough estimation of how much money your child needs. Give him a fixed amount every month. Also, get your child a ‘piggy bank’ and ask him to try and save money for anything he’d like to purchase later. This will get him into the habit of saving.
Nowadays banks are offering opportunity for opening bank accounts for minors. You can ask your child to open a bank account and manage his own pocket money. It is very important to learn how a bank functions, this will pave the way towards making your child a self-sufficient, confident and independent individual.
15. BE RESPONSIBLE:
Getting your child to be responsible is not easy, but there are some good ways you can make your child to feel accountable. If your little one is old enough, consider getting him a pet- this will instill a sense of responsibility in your child. Hand over something important to your child and ask him to keep it safe, and see how he goes about it. These small methods are effective to make your child become responsible.
16. SET EXPECTATIONS:
As a parent, it is okay to set expectations with your child. Explain him that you would want him to achieve success in life and be a pro at whatever he wants. Don’t overburden him, but do not forget to give a pat on his back whether he stands up to your expectations or not. Appreciate the fact that he tried. This way, you’ll motivate him constantly to do his best.
17. SAY NO:
Your child should know that when you say ‘No’ to something, it’s a final call! The last thing you need is your child turning into an arrogant and ruthless personality who always gets away with his excuses. Remind him that you in authority and you will be the one making decisions on his behalf till he grows older. Of course, make him realize the fact that he can always get a chance to voice his opinion and explain his side; but of course, the end verdict will be yours.
18. SAY YES:
As much as saying ‘No’ matters, you must know when to say ‘Yes’ as well. If your child has to attend a birthday party, let him go ahead and actively participate, even if it means changes in the schedule. The little things that enhance your child’s social skills are completely acceptable.
19. BE FIRM:
Your child may sometimes be caught for his inappropriate behavior and lack of responsibility; at such times, be firm and try to make him understand why he shouldn’t be behaving in such a way and what his actions could lead to. If your child still continues to do the same, refuse to take a stand for him all the time. Let your child understand and experience the consequences post demonstrating wrong behavior.
20. BE A ROLE MODEL:
One of the best ways to develop good habits for children is by setting good example yourselves. Your child learns most of the things watching your everyday behavior and habits. Hence it becomes important for you to exhibit the best so that he imbibes the same.
21. COOK WITH HIM:
Cooking is a great stress buster and an excellent way to bond with your child. Get him to help you decorate cupcakes or whip the salad dressings. You can also guide him while choosing the right combination of ingredients for foods.
22. APPRECIATE HIS ACHIEVEMENTS:
Appreciate your child and respect him for his achievements, irrespective of how tiny they are. Remember that he’s soon going to be an adult, and this is the time you should start grooming him to be responsible and in control of his actions. This will help your child remember that good actions have positive results and attract appreciation.
23. GIVE HIM A TREAT!
You can take him out for a treat at times in recognition of his good behavior. This is a great way to help your child stay motivated for the next time. Take him out for a holiday and make him feel special and wanted.
24. LET HIM SPEAK:
Make sure you give your child the right to his opinion. Allow him to speak his heart out on any situation and try to see things from his point of view. You can also ask for your child’s views in small matters concerning the house. That way, he is more likely to obey you and understand the reason behind your decisions, and will even value your opinion.
25. LOVE HIM:
One of the best things you could do to develop good habits in children is to love them. Children tend to rely on their parents for everything. If you give him the right love and respect that he deserves, he will surely work out his way to stay happy with you and love you too! So be liberal while giving those tight cuddles and cute little kisses before bed. Your little one will feel loved!
Parenting is nothing short of a challenging experience and it isn’t a smooth road. Expect a lot of bumps on the way. Rest assured that you’ll be able to handle everything wonderfully if you just keep calm and deal with your child in the right way.
Always be mindful of the fact that being too strict or too easy isn’t going to help. Finding a balance is the best way to handle any situation. Do not hesitate to seek advice from other parents, and even friends and family. You can also have a talk with your pediatrician and learn more about your child’s development status and the measures you need to apply.
Remember that your child’s good habits always begin at home. A good habit for children helps your child grow up soon and be a wonderful and successful human being. Make sure you’re there throughout to guide and support him.
Adapted from http://www.momjunction.com/articles/ways-ensure-good-habits-child_0022667/#gref