Kids can create good habits! I have been thinking about how spending time with family and friends can reinforce them. Just like kids who go to school to learn how to interact with others and socialize, spending time in more personal relationships with family and friends can expand many beneficial and lifelong habits. Of course, the habits learned can be good ones or not-so-good ones. Here we will talk about all the beneficial practices that can be fostered during kids’ time in their close relationships.
- A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
- An established disposition of the mind or character.
- Customary manner or practice.
BENEFICIAL HABITS BUILT FROM RELATIONSHIPS
Interactions that children have with their immediate family members, friends, and extended family, can benefit them in many ways. We learn valuable lessons from others in and out of our main everyday circle of influence. This is why isolation can keep people from growing but also from creating lifelong positive habits.
Having the practice of communicating well with others, how to say things in a way that expresses what one is feeling in a way that others will understand, and working through conflict, is an incredible life skill. This doesn’t come naturally to most humans. Allowing children to practice communicating, even with fake scenarios with family members, can give them the confidence to go into the world or even school settings, and kids feel they can communicate.
This is extremely beneficial for children to build relationships, advocate for themselves, lessen the frustration of not being able to express themselves or explain their thoughts, and more. Of course, this grows with maturity and age, but the basic skills can be learned and practiced with family.
Family is a kid’s soft place to fall and a place they feel they won’t be judged. These skills will continue to be learned and practiced with family into early adulthood and maybe beyond. Situations are more complex as we age, and having family, or core support system, to talk through situations and get feedback on how to communicate or handle situations is very valuable.
COOPERATION AND FLEXIBILITY
Learning to work together can start in the home, whether deciding what to have for dinner and who will help in the kitchen or activities the family will do together. Learning to come to decisions, being cooperative, and being flexible are incredible habits for kids to have.
Getting practice at home will give kids a head start when they start attending school or participating in outside group activities.
Kids interacting with siblings, parents, and other family members, it is typical that disagreements will come up. Having to learn how to problem-solve, come up with solutions and get creative can help our children. It is helpful not only with their family and friends but also to prepare them for their first job and their future family. This is not easy, and at times I have had quite messy situations when trying to problem-solve with my kids. But the process is good for everyone to practice. Even coming up with creative solutions on how to get along, help each other, or find ways to make a bad situation into one that is solvable or tolerable.
By building relationships kids are also building good habits.
The home is most kids’ soft place to fall when they are stressed or need to be able to relax. They may have had a hard day at school or at an activity, and they come home and aren’t very pleasant. At home, they may feel they are safe and can be grumpy in a safe place. I completely understand this; however, I have to reinforce in my house that it doesn’t mean that we are rude, hurtful, or disrespectful. It’s a work in progress. So kindness, even in the best spirits, is great to practice at home.
Every family is different in how they have reminders on how to remember to be kind. What creative ways do you remind your kids about kindness? A visible list of ideas? Having a make-up routine when we aren’t kind to each other, like an apology. How about random acts of kindness when a family member isn’t expecting it? These are all awesome ways kids can learn about kindness in easy and difficult times, as well as when we blow it and we are mean to someone and how we can turn it around.
We know that everyone is different and process things differently. Some kids are more go-with-the-flow, and some are more set in their ways. This doesn’t mean they can’t learn these skills; it just means it may take more creativity or practice. I had to learn not to compare myself to other moms and not compare my family to others. (This is a great skill to model for your kids too!) We have had to work through things other families have never had to deal with, and I know that many families have this same story.
Kids can create good habits by building relationships. Learning how to interact with others may not always be easy. But it can have some rewarding moments, and everyone of all ages can benefit from the practice. If we think of it as practice, it will take pressure off that we need to know what we are doing. Life is all about practice! I like to think we are all learning!