“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”- John Dryden
Growing up, kids observe their surroundings and get heavily influenced by it. It is one of the main reasons why habit formation is recommended from an early age. It goes a long way in establishing the personality of the child.
Consequently, the earlier you introduce good habits in your children, the more likely they are going to stick for the years to come. So, habit formation is an effective practice as it helps in creating a routine, increasing efficiency and organization amongst children.
A study by Brown University in 2014 showed that kids develop lifelong habits incredibly early. The age varies as per the habit, but generally, dietary habits are the first ones to form. Similarly, financial habits and household routines follow. From the moment they are born, infants start making sense of their environment and begin to detect patterns. Gradually, they start imitating novel actions after observation.
For instance, in order to implant financial habits in kids, many parents give their children pocket money or a piggy bank in which they are asked to collect money. It is helpful as children develop a financial understanding from their personal economic experiences only. Likewise, pocket money shapes their understanding of income. Most importantly, when kids collect money in their piggy bank, it provides them with the ability to plan ahead, say for buying something they want, because through saving they get a sense of their future self.
Habits shape up our lives more than we realize. Our brain clings to them at the exclusion of everything else. You’ll be surprised to know that more than 40% of the actions we perform on a daily basis are not actual decisions but habits. Habit formation is important as habits keep deepening over time until they become reflexes.
Parents have a major influence on child development, including habit formation. In order to develop habits in your child, you must always lead by example. It starts with you!
You want them to clear their dishes or make their beds?
Do it with them, so they learn from you. Remember to start young so as your kids get older, they can take on bigger responsibilities easily. Consistency is the key, be consistent with your kids, they will follow you.
Although parents influence their kids’ habits, friends also play a major role when it comes to the development of habits. Kids compare themselves against peers and friends at quite a young age as they spend a lot of time with them. The more they age, the more friends and peers are likely to become a bigger influence.
Furthermore, school is an equally important source of habit formation in kids. For instance, the timetabled nature of schools makes them realize the importance of time and routine. Besides, schools help in building strong work ethics and habits that enhance self-discipline. Likewise, teachers’ involvement is also important as sometimes, kids follow their teacher’s advice more than their parents.
All in all, habit formation in kids is most likely to shape and change their behaviour. Since children depend on parents, the basic approach and skills of parents can help in instilling habits and practices which will benefit them in the long run. Whatever the habit you wish to instill in them, just ensure it is easy to adopt and continue.