Helping Your Child Develop Positive Habits

Children learn habits more quickly if they do their tasks in the same order all the time. For example, in the morning: toileting, washing hands and face, putting on clothes, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, in that order but television, toys or computer time would only be allowed after the list of responsibilities is completed. It takes about a month of repetition for a habit to be changed. Another habit for you consider for your family would be for each object to have a “home.” For example, shoes have a home in a shoe rack in the closet. The parental message would be: “Shoes can be on your feet or in their home.”
A habit that many families have found very helpful is: “The speaker goes to the listener.” Many times families call to each other from one room to another and then argue or scold if the request is not followed or if a message is misunderstood. If the person who wishes to speak goes to the person to whom he wishes to speak, then they can get the attention of the listener, make eye contact and deliver a clear message.
Key idea: Help children develop habits so you don’t have to nag or remind them.


Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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