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Monday, March 17, 2014

Good habits/Bad habits

Begin early!
It's said that people are creatures of habit.  Assuming this is true, is it good or is it bad?  If your habits are good, then it's obviously a good thing.  (Think flossing your teeth, exercising regularly, calling your mother once a week.)  If your habits are bad, it's not so good. (Ok, I admit to eating a handful of chocolate chips every night after dinner!)

Habits are built up over time, which is why it's so important to help your children develop as many good habits as possible.   There is much you can do to help facilitate good habits in even the very young.

A tired, young mother complains that her 8 month old baby won't sleep through the night.  Notice the word, won't.  It's not can't. A baby who is developing normally (according to pediatric guidelines) is capable of sleeping through the night.  What the baby has done is developed the habit of waking up multiple times to eat or get interaction with Mommy or Daddy.  With work and a few more sleepless nights, that baby can learn diferent sleep patterns.

A school aged child whose room is constantly in a state of chaos has developed the habit of throwing things on the floor rather than putting them away.  Again, it's possible to work with that child to develop better habits.

A preschooler is rude, out of control and hits other children.  Believe it or not, that child has developed the habit to behave that way.  It's what he's used to doing and because no one has taught him otherwise, it's his way of dealing with stress, frustration and anger.  For the child's sake and those around him,  this is a habit that really should be dealt with...SOON!

The list goes on...but as a Mom, you have more control over these (and other) annoying behaviors of your children than you might realize. Schedules and routines are a good place to start.  They build the type of habits that you want to encourage.  Routines aren't just the invention of overly obsessive, compulsive minds.  :)  They provide a framework for daily living.  They provide peace of mind to your children.  It's much easier to guide children to develop good habits than to have to help him break bad ones!


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