Saturday, June 11, 2016

Changing Bad Habits One Week At A Time

Summer is really great for taking a break (obviously from school, nothing else stops for the summer) and regrouping. If I notice that a specific child is going to need to work on something, I usually try to survive until summer. Then I can dedicate more time to training. Sometimes it is teaching a child to behave better, teaching a skill like potty training before school starts, or building good habits that make the day flow better.
What prompted this was reading a great post on Getting Children To Behave from Mom Delights. She specifically talks about discipline but I had a light-bulb moment when I realized I could apply her summer format to other areas.

Summer time makes for a great fresh start and I'm a big fan of fresh starts. I love them because I need them so much. It seems like our family spirals out of control and out of routine frequently. So for the summer we are starting at the beginning: morning time. This is where the one week habits come in. Now I know that the "experts" say it take 30 days to form a habit and I don't doubt that. I just can't take that long. I would only get in three new habits over the summer. What we do is use Monday as our fresh start. It is ok if everything else falls apart the rest of the day as long as we work on accomplishing our one habit. Sometimes it takes more than one week and that's ok too.

So now that I've babbled a lot, what does this all mean? What does it all look like?

I said our first habit was morning time. We have a morning list.

Morning List:
                               -Make bed
                               -Get dressed
                               -Eat breakfast
                               -Brush teeth

Everything on the morning list needs to be completed by 9:00am. Last call for breakfast is 8:30am. I picked these two times because they were already the natural flow of our morning. Early and late risers can adjust accordingly.

And that is our first habit. Profound, isn't it? I have goals to add in things like "help with dishes for a certain meal" or "wash and fold your own laundry on a certain day". But at least this gives me a foundation so when things get crazy or unscheduled again, I just go back to either where we fell of the wagon or I go back to the beginning and start building our good habits again; one week at a time.

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