LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Kids of all ages learn by example and the behaviour of those around them. You may catch your toddler or young child muttering one of your commonly-used phrases or your teen questioning ‘but you did it, why can’t I?’ It can be hard to enforce expectations on our kids if we don’t have the same expectations of our own behaviour. If you want your kids to eat healthy meals, model that behaviour for them to form good habits. If you don’t want your child on their device at mealtimes, for example, don’t bring your phone to the dinner table.
Some kids may have a sense of entitlement, but this behaviour can be learnt from bad habits. Encourage kids of all ages to contribute to the household and work as a team. If a child knows once dinner is finished, everyone takes their plates to the kitchen and puts them in the dishwasher. It will soon become an unspoken routine. Another example is to encourage everyone in the family to put their dirty clothes in the laundry at the end of each day to help chip in.
Not all families follow strict routines. But, finding a flow that works for your family can be beneficial for setting up good habits. Research has suggested that children whose families follow a routine may benefit. These include healthier, better behaved and can even perform better at school. Plus, everyone knows what is expected of them and these routines can become ingrained as lifelong habits.