Of course, every parent wants to do the best by their children, to make sure they are as happy as possible and have the tools to be the most successful version of themselves. However, with all of the responsibilities of modern life, staying on top of everything can be a challenge, let alone adding anything new to the routine. Although it can seem like a daunting task, there are some very simple ways of introducing productive habits into a child’s life that can have really effective results.
A study from Brown University found that ‘routines and habits in children, including household chores and responsibilities, are unlikely to vary after the age of 9.’ The study surveyed nearly 50,000 American families and found that habits formed before the age of 9, lasted past the child’s conclusion of high school.
For parents of young children, this study is a great motivator, but for parents of children above the age of 9, this study shouldn’t be disheartening. There are still many long term effects of the introduction of positive habits. For example, many psychologists suggest that, making sure children do chores has a positive effect on their success in the workplace in later life. Understanding the importance of positive habits for children is only the first step, identifying and implicating these habits is the next port of call.
Below is a list of positive and effective habits that should be introduced to a child’s routine. With a focus not only upon the developmental benefits of these habits, but also on the child’s enjoyment.
Let’s face it, if the habit is appealing, it will make everyone’s life easier.
1)Enjoyable Physical Activity
It probably doesn’t come as any surprise that physical activity is necessary for children to develop into healthy adults. Exercise also has a great benefit on a child’s ability to concentrate and perform productively while at school. Understanding children should partake in daily exercise is simple, but, things become more complicated when a child just doesn’t enjoy sports.
When it comes to a child like this, it’s time to think a little more outside the box. If they don’t like the traditional team sports, look for other activities they might enjoy – like dancing, tennis, martial arts, rock climbing or swimming. For some children, it might take a little while to find something that is enjoyed but keep with it, keep trying different things and one will come along in time.
Alternatively, you can try joining in with them. As Patricia Nixon, PhD, says ‘you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or special classes to encourage your child to exercise’. You could: play a game of catch, walk or bike to school instead of driving or any other games your child might enjoy.
2)Great Ways Of Encouraging Daily Reading
Helping a child to develop strong reading skills will help them to be successful in school and later life. The Cleveland Clinic has found that reading helps a child to build self-esteem, relationships with parents and peers, and affects their success in later life. No matter what book is chosen, for some children, sitting down to read with their parents is simply the last thing on their mind when they come home from school. Luckily, there are some really great ways of dealing with this.
Online reading programs are a wonderful way of improving a child’s reading and comprehension skills in a format they will actually want to engage with. These interactive programs feature captivating characters, in the form of daily episodes that can be adapted to the individual child’s need. It is also a great way of making sure screen time is used positively and effectively.
3)Making Eating Healthy Fun
One way of doing this is by eating colorful foods. As MD, Karen Richardson Gill says ‘eating foods of different colors isn’t just fun – it has health benefits too.’ Color works as a great visual indicator for children to learn about the nutritional value of a regular balanced diet. If every single meal doesn’t have a huge array of hues, that is okay, but by incorporating a range of different vegetables to a meal makes things simple and healthy.
Another way of instilling healthy meal habits is by setting and sticking to regular meal times. This should include breakfast, to set them up for a productive day. Harvard Medical School has discovered that skipping breakfast leaves a child four times more likely to develop obesity. Ensuring children are eating a balanced breakfast that is high in fibre can have a very positive effect.