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Other than passing down your genes, you play a much greater role when it comes to moulding your child.
As they say, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, meaning you have to begin early. It is easier for children to pick different habits when they’re still young so take advantage. As the good word says, ‘train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’
The sooner good habits are introduced into their lives the less effort he or she will inculcate them into their lives.
On your part as a parent you have to exercise patience as you guide them into these healthy habits making them part of their daily routine.
- Act right
You cannot preach water and drink wine. At their tender age, kids are more visual and understand better by what they see. At this point words really don’t mean much to them considering they still don’t comprehend and are still trying to express themselves. If you want to instil a reading culture for instance, grab a book, switch off the TV and phones, and read. Monkey see, monkey do. You must teach by your actions first.
Don’t expect them to behave any different from you. So whatever bad habits you’re struggling with you better drop them before your children pick them.
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- Create routines
Human beings are creatures of habit. There is no other way to hammer in a good habit other than incorporating it into their daily life. They will get so used to doing it that eventually this becomes a natural habit. Let them know that in this house this is how we do our things. Good routines you can start early include washing hands after visiting the toilet, bedtime hours, picking up after themselves etc.
- Encourage healthy living
Like many adults who struggle with eating right, kids are inclined to asking for sweets, chocolates and fast food. In moderation this may not be bad. However you should focus more on healthy foods. To encourage them to eat more vegetables and fruits, make them more appealing and tasty. Kids will automatically enjoy. Make it a rule or a thing to eat healthy and educate them about the benefits and importance.
In the same breath, encourage your kids to be active. Limit sitting activities that involve watching TV and playing video games for hours on end. Point out the cons of being a couch potato and take them outside for a walk, a bike ride or any other physical activity. Do not allow your kids to live a sedentary lifestyle. This will be the beginning of many problems such as obesity, sleeping disorders amongst others.
- Introduce them to your belief system
Whatever your spiritual inclination may be, let your children in early. Chances are, your principles are faith based hence the need for children to know and understand why they need to act and behave a certain way. When they’re old enough bring them along so they can start learning at a tender age.
- Charity begins at home
How your child behaves will be a reflection of you. It all begins at home. Whether it’s picking up after themselves, being courteous, sharing, or saving money, you have to teach them. Don’t expect teachers and other people to instil good habits. It begins with you. The more and earlier you teach your child the better he or she will tackle the outside world without being easily influenced.
- Actions have consequences
The truth is, we don’t live in a perfect world. Help them know that bad decisions will lead to certain results. If you do this, this will happen. If you don’t create that awareness at an early age assuming your child is too young or he or she doesn’t need to know, you will pay for your actions. Let them know that every action has a reaction. Whether good or bad.
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