Children are creatures of habit – Hone them!!

Children are creatures of habit (so are we but my point here is only for kids :)). It’s amazing how well they stick to a routine. That is, if you layout a routine for them. I am going to list down a set of key things essential for getting kids inculcated to healthy habits without them thinking you are forcing something on them. That is probably the most important thing to achieve – NOT FORCING. The minute you force something on to someone, it’s going to last as long as the force is with them (I now sound like a star wars fan which I am not). Ok, so what do you need to do as a parent for this?

  1. DECIDE – Decide on the key habits you want to inculcate in your kids.
  2. SELF-ANALYSE – Analyse as to how many of those key habits you possess. As much as possible, try and start working on those habits your own self first.
  3. LEAD/ IMPLEMENT – Start working on the habits as a parent-kid duo asap. I have a toddler now and I find it obviously easy to give instructions since there is reciprocation. However, what I have noticed is that he is always more interested in participating in an activity which I myself am doing.
  4. DO NOT SLACK – There are days when you will be tired/ bored/ unmotivated/ lazy to perform set routines (those that may or may not involve your kids). For sure, do not slack on the ones that involve your kids. Slacking actually confuses kids during the formation of a habit.
  5. FUNNY-FY HABITS – Please pardon my english (couldn’t come up with a better word). My point here is, make habits funny and interesting for kids so that they won’t be bored and infact, might look forward to the habit. If required, you can introduce competition/ point system as well. Whatever works for your kids.
  6. SIT BACK & ENJOY – After a while, all you will need to do is sit back & enjoy the benefits of the habit you have slowly but steadily inculcated in your kid.

I want to illustrate all the above steps with my real life example. Read on, this is actually the interesting bit of the article :).

My son (Adya) is close to 2 now. We started to brush his teeth when he was around 1 year. He got his first tooth peeping out only when he was 11 months old. We initially started with a soft silicon brush and once he got around 6 fully bloomed pearls of teeth, we switched to a regular soft kids toothbrush. A lot of kids do not like the habit of brushing and especially dislike brushing early in the morning and we also went through our ups and downs. We still do at times and we don’t force him on days when he throws an absolute tantrum to not brush his teeth. When he was around 1.5 years old, I started incorporating the ‘teeth brushing’ activity to his night time routine (DECIDE). I would take him to the bathroom with me and make him sit on a tiny space between the sink & the toiletries (Trust me, It is way better than making him stand on a small stool or down on the floor since he was going on literally trying his hands in the potty zone :D). I give him a toothbrush (no paste, just water) and let him play around with this teeth (sometimes, the play around extends to him wanting to brush the sink and its tap – that’s where I need to be careful :)) while I brush my teeth, floss and work on my oil pulling (SELF ANALYSE & LEAD/ IMPLEMENT) . What I have come to realise in the last few months is that he loves this routine. He loves watching me brush my teeth – I try and make it funny for him at times by making funny faces or weird noises or even some dancing at times (FUNNY-FY HABITS). He clearly knows how to brush his teeth around much better than before (he now shakes his head from left to right with the brush on his teeth – it’s adorable to watch that). He still chews on his brush most times but the key habit I am working on here is to get the habit of night brushing on. He will surely pick up how to properly brush with the years to come. There have been nights when I am exhausted and want to skip on my night routine (and I have done it many times in the past) but he promptly pulls my hand and walks me to the bathroom once he’s done with his dinner . This is the most amazing bit for me with respect to forming habits. Clearly, he doesn’t know what time it is and stuff – yet he knows exactly when it is time for his night routine. If at that time, I let my laziness get the better of me, I am clearly giving confusing signals to Adya and I sure as hell am not going to do that (DO NOT SLACK). As silly as the matter in hand might seem, I am mighty proud of both my son and myself for having worked on inculcating this habit in him rather than slacking (SIT BACK & ENJOY). My hope in the years to come by is that, he looks at these habits as a part of the routine work he does in a day and just does it in the flow without thinking about it. Of course, this doesn’t mean he will 100% stick on to this habit forever. But the chances of him sticking on to this habit now is much more than if I start this out when he is much older. So parents, whatever healthy habits you would want to see in your kids, start them early on and DO NOT slack on them. You need to play along the routine every single day and you will surely surely see the benefits of it. I clearly see it in mine and I am super happy about it :). I am hoping to inculcate many such healthy habits in Adya and hoping to learn a lot in the process myself.

NOTE – No 2 kids are the same and no 2 processes are the same even in 1 kid :). So what works for one may not work for the other! 😀

That’s my baby nailing the whole tooth brushing act. He loves to meddle with all the toiletries he sees around :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *