What is Habit?

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.

Charlotte Mason

Childhood is the best opportunity to develop lifelong habits. Good habits in childhood lead to men and woman of strong character. Children will not outgrow bad habits, rather bad habits grow roots. It is only with persistence that they are rooted out and replaced with good habits.

The most important part of habit training is to focus on one habit at a time. Resist the temptation to work on a long list of new habits all at once. Although the focus is one habit at a time, parents should expect excellence in the habit. When parents emphasize quality over quantity, the fruit is happy children with healthy habits.

Approaching habit training with kindness is essential. When we expect our child to perform or produce, our response can become harsh. Although developing good habits is important, our children are born persons — they are not robots.

Steps to Habit Formation

  1. Make a list of habits to develop. 
  2. Choose one habit to begin with and write it in a place of prominence in the home. 
  3. Introduce your child to the habit, explaining the reasons it is important. 
  4. Encourage excellence in the habit for three to six weeks, or until the habit is fully formed. 
  5. Guard the habit, not allowing for regression into bad habits.                                

Habits need to be formed in a variety of areas including personal hygiene, household chores and character development. There are so many habits for our children to learn! Where do we start? Charlotte Mason gives over 75 suggestions of habits in Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9

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