Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prepare Your Child For A Great Life

kid smiling Kids Habits: Prepare Your Child For A Great Life

Are you teaching your kids good habits for a great life?

Teaching our kids the right habits to enjoy life, be creative, prosper financially and to generally be successful is a challenge all parents face.

Good habits do not begin automatically. Our kids learn a good portion of their behavior from us, their parents. We are their role models.

We have the incredible responsibility to teach our kids the behaviors and habits necessary for a great life. It is no small chore, but one that is of the utmost importance.
What habits are you teaching your kids?

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
~ Charles C. Noble

A habit is an automatic pattern of behavior repeated regularly. Basically, the way we act is a sum of our habits.

Our children model the behavior they see in us. Actions speak louder than words.

Regardless of how much you lecture, admonish and teach otherwise, your kids are most likely to wind up acting a good deal like you do.

To me, this is a fact that is reassuring on one hand and frightening on another.

I love knowing that teaching my kids good habits is relatively easy. I just have to model the right behaviors for them. Over the long-haul, they will pick them up and adopt these positive actions as their own.

However, it is quite disturbing to think that I can just as easily pass along my bad habits.

This forces me to seriously examine my own life and to ask myself, “What do I want to be teaching my kids?” Am I passing along the right habits to them?

I realize that the first step in teaching my kids good habits is to clean up my own act!

The top ten habits kids need for a great life

I have created a list of the good habits that I want to model for my children so they will follow my lead and learn what they need for a great life.

1. Be health-conscious and eat right

I want to teach my kids to think about how they treat their bodies. Failing to protect your health can severely limit your options in life. I confess I have work to do in this area. In particular, I need to model healthier eating habits. I do exercise regularly so, I know my kids see that, but I could certainly be a better example with my diet.

2. Get plenty of rest

Getting eight hours of sleep a night is very important to our physical and emotional health. Of course, many of us deprive ourselves of the proper rest. Making sleep a priority is often a challenge. My wife and I try to go to bed about the same time every night. We also have a regular bedtime for our kids. Hopefully, they will carry this habit over into adulthood.

3. Become a good reader

There are so many benefits to being a good reader. Children that read well do better in school. I want my kids to be lifelong learners. Books, blogs and other written materials are excellent sources of new learning. Good readers enjoy reading and therefore do it more often. I read to my kids regularly and I believe this will help them learn to love reading too.

4. Be truthful

We are either in the habit of telling the truth or we’re not. I’ll admit that being honest isn’t always easy, but I definitely think our kids follow our lead in this area. They watch us and they are very perceptive. I believe setting the right example here is crucially important. For my kids benefit, I want to tell the truth even when it isn’t easy.

5. Work hard

Hard work is something that many these days seem to avoid like a disease. However, nothing meaningful is ever accomplished without great effort. The habit of doing a job well is passed down from parent to child through the expectations we set. It is sometimes easier to do the work, like cleaning up a roomful of toys, for my kids. But, when I do this I miss the opportunity to teach them the value and satisfaction of a job well done.

6. Be financially wise

We’ve been following Dave Ramsey’s teaching for the last few years and I’m amazed at how much my daughters have picked up. Schools rarely, if ever, teach children sound personal finance principles so, it is imperative that we as parents do this. As I said before, actions speak a lot louder than words. Our kids need to see us doing the right things financially so they can follow in our footsteps.

7. Have fun and be silly

A big part of living life to the fullest is about having fun along the way. I’m a pretty serious person by nature so, I have to remind myself to stop and be silly once in awhile. I want my girls to learn to laugh and fully engage in adventurous, entertaining and fun activities. Get your kids in the habit of having fun and they’ll practice it all their lives!

8. Try new things

It is easy to get stuck in a rut. Good habits are one thing, but inflexibility is another. The world is ever-changing. You have to adapt and try new things to remain vibrant and alive. Teaching our children that it is okay to try new things and even to fail once in awhile is a grand lesson.

9. Exercise your creativity

Kids are naturally creative. As we grow older, we often lose touch with our creativity. This is sad. Demonstrating to our kids that we have a wide-range of interests and helping them to learn to express their creativity in increasingly more mature ways is important. This blog is one way that I exercise my creativity and I hope my kids develop a similar habit.

10. Be a leader

The world needs leaders. Taking the lead is a habit that some people never seem to develop. Maybe it is because they never saw anyone around them assuming a leadership role as they grew up. I want to be sure that my kids have leaders they admire and model in their lives.

These habits will prepare your kids for a great life

If I can teach my kids these ten habits, then I believe they will be well on their way to a great life. I have a lot of work to do in my own life to become the role model I want to be, but I’m not giving up. The effort is worth the reward!

What habits do you want to teach your kids?

NOTE: Even though this post was originally written with a back-to-school slant, I feel strongly that these are good habits that everyone should adopt to be more successful.

Students go to school to get an education for a better life. However, many of the habits needed to truly be successful are learned outside the classroom. Developing good habits that will help students of all ages succeed can never start too early. These routines will help students in school and for the rest of their lives. It will give them the tools they need to live life to the fullest!
Good habits every student needs for success!

This list of good habits will serve you well whether you are a parent with children or a college student getting ready to go back to school. Learning these habits now will help all students start out way ahead in life.

1. Get on a good schedule.

We need structure and routine in our lives. Our bodies expect it. They perform best when we operate on a regular schedule. We especially need to eat and sleep about the same time each day. If you are the parent of a young child, it is your job to teach this habit early. This routine stays with a person their whole life and helps them to develop good work habits. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it!

2. Eat a healthy diet.

Our brains need the right food to perform at their peak. Don’t go to school on an empty stomach. Students need to train themselves early to eat a balanced and healthy diet. We tend to carry the habits we learn when we are young forward with us for most of our lives. Learning to eat right now can avoid many health issues down the road.

3. Learn to exercise.

We need physical activity to stay healthy. The benefits of regular exercise are well documented. We need to find exercise routines that are fun and match our individual tastes. Developing a good exercise routine is a habit that will increase both the quantity and quality of your life.

4. Practice gratitude.

It is so easy to get in the bad habit of envying what others have. The grass often seems greener on the other side of the fence. It is vitally important to learn gratitude. Practice thinking about the things you have to be thankful about. I do this with my daughter each evening when I put her to bed. I ask her to recall the good things that happened that day. We then take a few minutes and give thanks for those things. This helps us both to train ourselves to be grateful.

5. Develop good study habits.

Studying effectively is a skill. People that live life to the fullest are lifelong learners. They never stop trying new things. One needs to study and gather new knowledge in an effective and efficient manner. Learning how to study and acquire the knowledge to succeed doesn’t just occur naturally. It needs to be taught. Take a study skills course or ask others for tips on improving your study habits.

6. Never give up!

I remember being told in school that, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” I think this is a Vince Lombardi quote and it is certainly true. It takes perseverance in life to enjoy any kind of success. I also remember hearing, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” These sayings come back to me time and again when I feel like giving up. Perseverance is a habit. It is one that can be developed just like any other.

7. Manage money wisely.

Why don’t they teach a good personal finance class in school? Students need to learn to earn, save, budget, track, and wisely spend money to be successful in life. Good money habits can never start too early. There are a lot of good resources out there to help. I recommend taking a look at what Dave Ramsey has to offer for various ages. Of course, you can also find a lot of fantastic money tips reading blogs!

8. Respect the environment.

It seems to be hip to be “green”, but being a good steward of our environment is really not that new. Wise parents have been teaching these principles to their children for ages. We only have this one world and we depend on it for our survival. Every person needs to do their part to protect what we have. Develop habits now that will help you to be a good environmental citizen for a lifetime!

9. Strive for excellence!

Why do a job if you aren’t going to do it right? We need to develop the habit of giving every task our best effort. Excellence should be the standard we strive for in all we do. We can’t start letting ourselves or our children do the least possible to get by. If we do, then they are going to receive less than the best results from their work. Teaching excellence now will ensure habits for success will carry forward.

10. Live the Golden Rule.

“Do unto others…” is a guideline we should all follow. Think of the conflict and tragedy that could have been avoided if people simply applied the Golden Rule in all their relationships. If we make this a habit, then we will find a lot more success in life. Respecting people of all races and beliefs is a hallmark of living life to the fullest.

11. Practice good hygiene.

You really can dress for success! Habits like brushing your teeth twice a day and washing your hands regularly not only contribute to health, but also lead to routines that give one a sharper appearance. First impressions are powerful and are mostly derived from the way a person looks. Like it or not this is true. Start today to ensure you do what it takes to leave a lasting good impression.

12. Always tell the truth!

The truth often comes out whether we want it to or not. Lying generally just complicates the situation and makes us look bad. Look at the scandals many of our politicians fall into because they fail to admit the truth. It is much better to just develop the habit of telling the truth even when it is difficult. This will save you a lot of heartache and misery in life.

13. Ask for what you want.

Develop the habit of asking for what you want. How else are you going to get it? It is really that simple. Often, when I ask, I am amazed at how quickly I get exactly what I wanted. Just give this one a try. If you are a parent, teach your children to ask others for what they want. This is truly a behavior you want to come naturally. It will build confidence and self-esteem that will serve your kids forever!

14. Be a regular reader.

Being a good reader is a skill that often separates the good students from those that struggle. Becoming a good reader takes practice. The more you read and are read to, the better you get. Reading has numerous benefits. It builds one’s vocabulary, expands the imagination, and rekindles creativity. Make reading a routine!

15. Be punctual.

Arriving on time is important to one’s success. People always notice when you are late. It is an indicator of whether you mean what you say and can be trusted. Do not introduce doubt about this into people’s minds by showing up later than expected. Create the habit of being punctual now and you won’t have to worry.

16. Respect authority.

Failure to respect those in authority positions can lead to all kinds of problems in life. It doesn’t matter whether it is your boss, a police officer, or a university dean. People in authority have a job to do and often worked hard to get into the position they are in. They deserve to be treated with proper manners and reverence. Learning to say, “Yes ma’am” and “Yes sir” will get you noticed in a positive way.

17. Tend to your spiritual needs.

We cannot ignore our spiritual needs and truly live a full and rewarding life. We must recognize that there is a higher power and pursue our faith regularly. We may not exercise our beliefs in exactly the same way, but I encourage you to find what works for you and explore it to it’s depths. A solid spiritual life will serve you well.
Good habits developed now will last a lifetime!

These are good habits you want to set in concrete now. The quicker you make these habits that you live by, the better life you will experience. If you are a parent, then print this list and work on it with your children. Back to school is an excellent time to focus on new habits that will last a lifetime!

What good habit did I miss?

From Jeff - My Super Charged Life

Photo by tiffanywashko