And, they’re off! The school year has begun.
A fresh season offers great opportunity to cultivate new habits. Check out three habits that hold immense possibility for your child in this new school year:
1. Be a friend to have a friend
What kid doesn’t want to have more friends? Crazy thing, kids (much like adults), hope that friends will magically appear and that those connections will invite them to be a part of all that’s happening. When it comes to friendship, the world is desperately in need of more initiators. The start of a new school year offers a time to encourage your child to give away lots of smiles, keep a look out for the new kid in class or the student who is sitting alone at lunch. Offering friendship is the best way to fill life with strong relationships. Encourage your child to initiate connections rather than waiting for them to come along. What would happen in this world if we all taught our kids to give to others what they want to have for themselves?
2. Do 1st things first
“We do the things we have to do before we get to do the things we want to do” has become a mantra around our house. Think about it… You go to work, earn a paycheck, pay your mortgage or rent, and then get to enjoy your home. Nobody gives you a beautiful home, lets you lay around as long as you want, watch 5-6 hours of TV, and then – if you feel like it – go to work. Right? The world operates by doing first things first. And, this is a crucial lesson for any young person.
What are the things your child has to do? Obviously, this varies based on the age of your kids, but homework and chores top the list for those that are elementary aged and over. When your child asks about something he wants to do, like heading over a friend’s, or jumping on the video game, check in with him, “Have you done 1st things 1st?”
3. Practice gratefulness
The benefits of having a grateful spirit have gotten much attention recently. Many parents I work with express concern that the more their kids receive, the more they seem to want. Developing a grateful heart tops the list of qualities that will greatly serve your child, and it certainly doesn’t need to wait until adulthood to make it into daily habits.
Research conducted with students who wrote down five things for which they felt grateful for, once a week, for 10 weeks in a row, experienced exciting results! Less stress, more joy, increased optimism and greater life satisfaction topped the list of outcomes. Here are some ways to practice gratitude with your kids:
Use dinner time to have each person express one positive thing from the day. This can even happen in the car on the way to the next practice!
At bedtime, spend time with your child sharing the top three things from the day for which you are grateful.
Have a family “gratitude board.” Hang a whiteboard in the hallway or laundry room and have family members write on the board things for which they are grateful daily.
Write weekly/monthly letters of appreciation. A teacher, a family member, a coach, a friendly clerk or waitress are all people who will be encouraged by a letter of appreciation from your child.
Family Coach, Michelle Klavohn, holds over 20 years in the field of Human Development. With a Master’s degree in Communication, she equips families to close the gap between the family they dream of and what they experience each day. Michelle regularly writes for Marriage Inc., in the Chicago area, and is a contributor to the Houston Family Magazine, She passionately pursues her vision to partner with families who want to thrive! For more information on Coaching services, visit http://www.michelleklavohn.com