Are you teaching your kids good habits for a great life?
Teaching our kids the right habits to enjoy life, be creative, prosper financially and to generally be successful is a challenge all parents face.
Good habits do not begin automatically. Our kids learn a good portion of their behavior from us, their parents. We are their role models.
We have the incredible responsibility to teach our kids the behaviors and habits necessary for a great life. It is no small chore, but one that is of the utmost importance.
What habits are you teaching your kids?
“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
~ Charles C. Noble
A habit is an automatic pattern of behavior repeated regularly. Basically, the way we act is a sum of our habits.
Our children model the behavior they see in us. Actions speak louder than words.
Regardless of how much you lecture, admonish and teach otherwise, your kids are most likely to wind up acting a good deal like you do.
To me, this is a fact that is reassuring on one hand and frightening on another.
I love knowing that teaching my kids good habits is relatively easy. I just have to model the right behaviors for them. Over the long-haul, they will pick them up and adopt these positive actions as their own.
However, it is quite disturbing to think that I can just as easily pass along my bad habits.
This forces me to seriously examine my own life and to ask myself, “What do I want to be teaching my kids?” Am I passing along the right habits to them?
I realize that the first step in teaching my kids good habits is to clean up my own act!
The top ten habits kids need for a great life
I have created a list of the good habits that I want to model for my children so they will follow my lead and learn what they need for a great life.
1. Be health-conscious and eat right
I want to teach my kids to think about how they treat their bodies. Failing to protect your health can severely limit your options in life. I confess I have work to do in this area. In particular, I need to model healthier eating habits. I do exercise regularly so, I know my kids see that, but I could certainly be a better example with my diet.
2. Get plenty of rest
Getting eight hours of sleep a night is very important to our physical and emotional health. Of course, many of us deprive ourselves of the proper rest. Making sleep a priority is often a challenge. My wife and I try to go to bed about the same time every night. We also have a regular bedtime for our kids. Hopefully, they will carry this habit over into adulthood.
3. Become a good reader
There are so many benefits to being a good reader. Children that read well do better in school. I want my kids to be lifelong learners. Books, blogs and other written materials are excellent sources of new learning. Good readers enjoy reading and therefore do it more often. I read to my kids regularly and I believe this will help them learn to love reading too.
4. Be truthful
We are either in the habit of telling the truth or we’re not. I’ll admit that being honest isn’t always easy, but I definitely think our kids follow our lead in this area. They watch us and they are very perceptive. I believe setting the right example here is crucially important. For my kids benefit, I want to tell the truth even when it isn’t easy.
5. Work hard
Hard work is something that many these days seem to avoid like a disease. However, nothing meaningful is ever accomplished without great effort. The habit of doing a job well is passed down from parent to child through the expectations we set. It is sometimes easier to do the work, like cleaning up a roomful of toys, for my kids. But, when I do this I miss the opportunity to teach them the value and satisfaction of a job well done.
6. Be financially wise
We’ve been following Dave Ramsey’s teaching for the last few years and I’m amazed at how much my daughters have picked up. Schools rarely, if ever, teach children sound personal finance principles so, it is imperative that we as parents do this. As I said before, actions speak a lot louder than words. Our kids need to see us doing the right things financially so they can follow in our footsteps.
7. Have fun and be silly
A big part of living life to the fullest is about having fun along the way. I’m a pretty serious person by nature so, I have to remind myself to stop and be silly once in awhile. I want my girls to learn to laugh and fully engage in adventurous, entertaining and fun activities. Get your kids in the habit of having fun and they’ll practice it all their lives!
8. Try new things
It is easy to get stuck in a rut. Good habits are one thing, but inflexibility is another. The world is ever-changing. You have to adapt and try new things to remain vibrant and alive. Teaching our children that it is okay to try new things and even to fail once in awhile is a grand lesson.
9. Exercise your creativity
Kids are naturally creative. As we grow older, we often lose touch with our creativity. This is sad. Demonstrating to our kids that we have a wide-range of interests and helping them to learn to express their creativity in increasingly more mature ways is important. This blog is one way that I exercise my creativity and I hope my kids develop a similar habit.
10. Be a leader
The world needs leaders. Taking the lead is a habit that some people never seem to develop. Maybe it is because they never saw anyone around them assuming a leadership role as they grew up. I want to be sure that my kids have leaders they admire and model in their lives.
These habits will prepare your kids for a great life
If I can teach my kids these ten habits, then I believe they will be well on their way to a great life. I have a lot of work to do in my own life to become the role model I want to be, but I’m not giving up. The effort is worth the reward!
What habits do you want to teach your kids?
Photo by tiffanywashko