Coaching Your Child—Good Habits!
Happy Fall! We’re still early in a new school year. Let’s chat about coaching your children to build healthy life habits. This will bless both your children and your homeschooling!
Go ahead and pick one habit that you want to pass on to your child. It can be anything: kitchen chores, math facts, making one’s bed…the list is endless. Please just pick one habit to begin. You can now focus on being a good coach, day in and day out, to build this one essential habit in his or her life.
I know what you are thinking! I want many habits built into my child’s life, not just one! Aaah, yes, of course! However, you are one young mom who wears many hats in your family’s life. I am almost sixty-two years old and can speak from experience. Let me urge you to start with one habit and then pick a new one in a few weeks.
Am I saying don’t have your children do anything else for a week or a month while he or she builds this habit? No, not at all. However, this habit or life skill you have selected will be your coaching focus. Will you do it perfectly? No, no, not all.
But the real question that must be answered by you as the mom is: will your child do it perfectly? And does he or she need to do it perfectly before you can build another new habit? Absolutely not. An excellent coach is gracious and forgiving with beautiful words of encouragement that make and build into the child’s life. As parents, we must understand our children’s ages and developmental strengths; please be patient!
The great football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, was asked once how he viewed his job as a coach. His response motivated me daily to keep going and persevere in forming good habits in my children’s lives. “My job is to get my athletes to do what they do not want to, achieve what they have always dreamed of.” Landry’s quote motivated me to keep going as a parent even when my children’s responses were far from positive.
Now let’s chat about a crucial aspect of habit formation – the time commitment required. This is a critical coaching tip. Without it, you might finish reading this article with the wrong impression. You may think you need hours a day to build good habits in your child’s life. You might read this and think, ‘who is this woman adding hours to my busy day of homeschooling?’
Wisdom and best practice for parental coaching of children to build a good habit, one life-long habit at a time, is, to begin with about five minutes per day! What? Five minutes? All this habit formation can start with five minutes a day of coaching and guiding your child to build a particular habit? As time goes by, it will build. But it will be very, very slow. It is a daily building of a life-long habit. Beginning with five minutes per day will yield great results as the days turn into months! It will prevent discouragement for both you and your child!
by Loretta Lambert