Finding your way out of boredom. Adults often feel like it’s their job to entertain the little ones, but allowing them to figure it out on their own fosters creativity and imagination. Let your kiddos find something to keep them entertained; not only will they learn more about themselves, but they’ll explore the world around them.
Moving every day. This should come easy to young ones, but in today’s world, many kids are becoming more sedentary. Make sure your children are unplugging often (no TV, no phones, no video games!) and getting outside for good ol’ fashioned fun, like kickball or a game of tag.
Cleaning up after yourself. Most people dislike cleaning up a big mess, but if you learn at a young age to straighten up as you go, it can save you a lot of stress and time. Kids at nearly any age can learn to pick-up when they’re done with something—start teaching them now!
Taking care of your possessions. Knowing how to care for your things will end up saving you quite a bit of money in the end—and it teaches you how to appreciate what you have. Lay down some rules when it comes to your children’s belongings; for example, if your child has left his or her bike outside and it was damaged, have him or her perform chores or other tasks to help “earn” the money for repairs.
Earning something you want. It seems a lot of today’s youth are feeling pretty entitled lately—and it’s our fault. Many kids are given full access to their wants and desires, but don’t experience the hard work that should come along with it. You won’t always be there to give your child anything he wants or needs, there will come a time in life where he has to work for it—so prepare him now by saying “no” at times and setting up ways for your child to earn what he has asked for.
Expressing how you feel. This is a hard one to master! Sit down with your child often to talk about his or her feelings. If your kiddo has had a particularly hard day, be patient and try to help her express what happened and how it made her feel. Also, honor your child’s opinions (as long as it’s not hurting someone else); it’s important he or she feels like it’s a safe environment to share thoughts, likes and dislikes.
Knowing when you’re full. Learning to honor what your body is telling you is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Many of today’s adults were told to “clean your plate!” as young kids and, now, some find it hard to stop eating, even after they’re full. Remember your little one’s tummy is A LOT smaller than yours, and he or she really can fill up fast. If you’re finding your child laments, “I’m fuuull,” rather quickly, then consider having five smaller meals throughout the day, or adding in an extra snack time or two.
Remember: Creating new behaviors and lifelong habits doesn’t happen overnight. It’ll take some time to make it routine—but it’ll be well worth it once they’ve become second nature!