Ideally, I would have loved to list out my parenting goals for this year, but I haven’t got around to making that list yet. So, I thought I should share a list of 5 habits which are absolutely worth inculcating in kids. I can personally vouch for these from my almost 2.5 years of mommy experience.
People thought I was crazy when they saw me reading MY books to a newborn. But at that age it does not matter what you are reading to them, as long as they are listening to your voice and language. This article pretty much articulates all the benefits of reading to kids. In the beginning, reading was not part of our routine. We would do it at some point during the day. But I slowly realized the wisdom in allocating a specific time for reading. Now my 2.5 year old knows when it is reading time and selects the books himself. I scheduled reading only before bedtime at night, but now he asks me to read even during afternoon nap times. Today I am thrilled that he enjoys reading time [even looking at books on his own] but I will resist calling him a booklover yet. This certainly hasn’t happened overnight. I have invested time and efforts in this direction, and have been persistent without being pushy.
2. Early to bed and early to rise
To some extent this also depends on your baby. But it is certainly worth your efforts to create a schedule of early bedtime for your child. It also fits in well when he starts school. No child wants to sleep on his own, when the whole household is probably doing some fun things [from his perspective]. So, from quite early, we have gone to bed with him [only to come out later after he has slept]. His bedtime has always been around 9 pm and therefore he wakes up around 7.30 am on his own. I have always made sure that his nap time is also at a specific time [1-1.30 pm] in the afternoon. I have hardly ever made any plans which will affect his nap times. But it has been fruitful in the long run. I have seen parents complaining about kids refusing to go to bed early. The truth is you need to go to bed early yourself too and resist staying out till really late. Early bedtimes need to be inculcated early because once the kids are older, they resist any kind of new routines.
3. Dry fruits against chocolates
Honestly, before I became a mother, even I always offered chocolates to little kids because it is easy and it always works. But now as a parent, I realize it is a poor habit to encourage. My son has grown up on munching dry fruits as in-between snacks. And dry fruits are to him what chocolates are for most kids. I have even stopped people – grandparents, doctors, shopkeepers, well-meaning strangers – from giving him chocolates. Today, I am thankful that I made that choice, when I see other parents struggling to stop their kids from having too many chocolates.
4. No TV / Videos on regular basis
I don’t watch TV. It is quite liberating if you ask me. Since I am the only one around my son most of the time, I am conscious that my habit will have an influence on him. TV or videos, even rhymes and so-called educational animations are not part of his routine. Those may be educating but there are other active ways to educate.
You just have to Google; you will be swarmed by articles telling you about the negative influence of TV on young kids. I personally hate the glazed look on their faces. When a child gets used to the kind of stimulation that TV [any visual medium] offers, nothing else matches up to it. Kids look the best when they are active, when they are using their imagination and creativity to invent a game or accomplish something around the house. A no-TV household always has so much more time for other things.
5. Brushing teeth
A seemingly trivial thing but it gives much stress to many parents. I incorporated brushing teeth in my son’s routine even before he turned one. Of course, at that point it was extremely tedious, and several times I felt like giving up because he would not let me do it properly. But at that age your main objective should be to sustain it as part of the routine. And today, my toddler knows he needs to brush his teeth first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
The fact is none of these is going to be easy in the beginning but if you persist, each of these habits will be worth your efforts. And this is true for any other good habit that you would want your kids to imbibe. Start early.
Reema Sahay is a Stay-At-Home-Mom, Freelance Writer, Voracious Reader, Passionate Blogger, Social Media Enthusiast, Internet Junkie and Ex-Marketing Communication Professional. She spends her days running after her very curious toddler, ‘the star’, and catching up on books when he naps. She writes about charms and challenges of life at Pen Paper and shares her passion for books at Recommend Books. She sometimes feels that her 5.5 years stint in Marketing Communication was in another life.