They say that kids learn manners and habits at a young age, so parents should invest time in teaching them these things from the moment that they were born. Do you know that even sleeping patterns are born out of habit? If you let your kids watch television until three in the morning, why should you expect them to have good sleeping patterns when they are older? It is up to parents to cultivate these good habits and they should start the moment these children open their eyes.
The earlier your kids are introduced to these habits, the less effort it will be for them to remember these when they are older. If you read to them from infancy until adolescence, then reading books will be a part of their routine. It will not be an effort for them to pick a book and lose themselves in the stories.
This is probably the hardest habit to cultivate in kids. Just like any other children, your kids will want the occasional chips and biscuits. While it is okay to give in to their wants from time to time, it is also important to make them understand that fruits and vegetables should be the core of their diet. You can start explaining this to them at an early age. You should also make homemade versions of the junk food that they want, so you can make them healthier and packed with nutrients.
Your kids can learn how to brush their teeth as soon as they reach two years of age. Let them use their own toothbrush with a fruity toothpaste that is safe to swallow (since most two years old don’t know how to gargle yet). You should make regular visits to a kids’ dentist so that your kids will not have that unreasonable fear of dentists even adults feel at times.
Schools will teach kids how to put their fork and spoon together after eating, as well as not to pick their noses while at the dining table. Kids nowadays use their tablets and phones while eating with the family. In the past, this is considered bad manners. Don’t let this be a practice at home nor in restaurants when you eat out. Explain to kids as soon as they can understand that table manners are akin to giving respect to other diners.
Establish a correct sleeping schedule for your kids. Put them to bed at 9 PM the latest. Make sure they’ve eaten their dinners and brushed their teeth. This nighttime routine is important when they grow older and need to attend school. As for yourself, stick to a bedtime schedule, too. It is more likely that your kids will stay awake when they see that you haven’t gone to bed yet.
It is easy to stay glued to the TV, tablet, and phone. After all, this is what kids do these days. Don’t let your kids be addicted to video games and phone apps. It will affect their social skills, as well as their cognitive abilities. Make sure that your kids spend at least an hour or two outdoors. Encourage them to do chores such as raking leaves or mowing the lawn. You could also teach them lawn care, such as managing lawn grass such as Kikuyu to make the lawn suitable for their outdoor games. These physical activities are vital, so they will not have unspent energy at night when they have to sleep.
Parents are not their kids’ nannies and cleaners. You are not supposed to clean after them all the time. When they are little it’s okay to wash their dishes since they cannot yet do this on their own. However, let them clean their own mess—toys, clothes, etc.—as soon as they can. When they can reach the sink, let them help you with the dishes, too. It is important to establish this discipline early in their lives.
Educate your kids to save money. If they are old enough to do menial tasks around the house, “pay” them for some tasks (not for all of them) so they have money to save. Give them a piggy bank and tell them they can use that money when they want to buy something. Once they are older, open a savings account for them and start teaching them how to save the monetary gifts they receive during their birthdays and holidays.
Care for Environment
This is more important than ever before. The world is suffering from climate change and environmental degradation. It is important that parents do their part in teaching the kids how to care for the environment. The smallest of things—like throwing away trash properly—will go a long way toward making them understand their responsibilities.
Be a good example to your kids. They will look at you and follow what examples you have set. You cannot simply explain to them what habits they need to develop and then expect them to do it themselves even if they see the opposite in you.