Helpful Habits for Kids

Our children are continually forming habits, whether they are ones we want them to have or ones we'd rather not see them continue. Left to herself, my youngest grandgirl, sweet Jenny, might just continue eating sticks of butter at will. Somehow, though, I don't think her parents are going to allow that.

Back in the 19th century there was a common saying which goes like this:
Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character

We don't think much about an individual action, much less a thought, but when we repeat an action over and over, it becomes a habit, and summed up our actions create our character.  As moms, habit training is a big part of what we do as we "train up our children in the way they should go." As we help our children develop good habits and godly character, we'll see huge benefits both in their lives and in our homes and beyond.

Back in January I had the privilege of speaking to our church's moms' group, Bloomingmoms, about training our children in helpful habits. I talked about some of the whys, hows, and whats of building habits, sharing some things that have been helpful to us and other things we have not done well so you can learn from our mistakes. Here's a link to the talk and handouts. (I don't like to hear myself talk, so I don't know how it sounds. I think it's about an hour long.)


theologista said…
I got to hear it in person! :)

Definitely worth a listen.
Kara said…
I was thinking about this tonight, and I think the character area we really need to work on together right now is loving each other. My big girls, who normally play so nicely together, have been bickering a lot more lately, and running and tattling on each other for very minor offenses. I've told them they need to love their sister more than they love themselves, but I need to come up with some ways to teach this more proactively rather than dealing it when it comes to a crisis. What kind of ideas do you have for teaching selfless love to little people?
Anne said…
Gramps doesn't believe this could possibly be true of our lovely little granddaughters!

But on the off chance that some stay children haven't wandered into your home, here are a few thoughts. Tattlers usually are telling their tales not because they are concerned about safety or justice, but alas, all too often they want to see their sibling punished. At least that's how it was with you and your siblings. So, at least according to your younger sisters who have fresher memories than mine, I made a practice of spanking the tattler. Of course, if someone is in true danger, you do want a sibling to inform you, but that's usually not what is going on. Ginger Plowman has a good post about tattling here:

Sometimes having children do something nice (and unexpected) for each other helps them to think more about the other one and less about their own desires. How about coming up with some things that A and L can do secretly for each other. Maybe you and Annie could make something for Laurel while L naps. The reverse would probably be more difficult, but I bet you can think of something.

Oh – also I wonder if some of this will be cured as they begin to get outside more as the days warm!
Anne said…
And PRAY regularly that your girls will love one another and learn unselfishness. I've added this to my prayer list for your girls.

Paul Miller says in *The Praying Life*, "It didn't take me long to realize I did my best parenting by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing."

Also pray WITH them - both before they are having problems, and when you are dealing with something that comes up.

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