5 Ways To Effectively Break a Bad Habit in your Child. Today we are welcoming Aradhana to Tips From a Typical Mom guest posting on a great topic. How to break your child’s bad habits.
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We parents all love our little ones. They are adorable, cuddly, funny and always high on energy. With them around, there’s never a dull moment. That being said, they can also be quite a handful at times thanks to their razor sharp tongue, obstinate behavior and inappropriate habits, some of which are extremely gross (read eating their boogers). While you may ignore these habits thinking that they’ll go away as the years pass by, a lot of them can even stay with your child until his adolescent and adulthood years. If overlooked, these habits can result in greater issues like infections, social shaming, and depression. It is, thus, important that you focus on correcting these tendencies before they get permanently ingrained in your child’s life. Here are five ways you can effectively break a bad habit in your child:
- Give Your Child The Freedom To Choose: Entrusting your child with the responsibility to make his own choices can help a great deal in reducing his resistance against good habits. For example, if your child refuses to brush his teeth after every meal, give him the freedom to choose a fancy toothpaste and toothbrush for himself. Doing this will make him look forward to the activity rather than fighting against it. Similarly, if you let your child pick out his own outfit for each day, your mornings will be calm, minus the dreadful routine of all the stomping and bawling.
- Set A Code Word For The Bad Habit: Whatever be your child’s bad habit, whether it is nail-biting or thumb-sucking, you can try to break it by turning your condemnation into a game. Set a code word for the bad habit. Each time you see your child display that habit, say the code word out loud. Each time you say the code word, make a note of the code word. If you haven’t made a note of the code word even once, during the day, reward your child with a fun surprise. Doing this will make your child conscious about his actions, and he’ll hold back his urge to indulge in his bad habit.
- Have Him Practice Relaxation Techniques: A lot of kids bite their nails and hair and grit their teeth whenever they are anxious or scared. Teach your kid the wonders of practicing calming breathing and yoga techniques each time he is nervous or tensed, instead. Encourage him to use positive affirmations like “I am fine”, “I am safe”, “I will do this”, each time his mind gets clouded with apprehensions and worries. Suggesting these helpful methods will prevent your child from relying on his bad habits to comfort himself.
- Praise Your Child For His Good Behavior: Words of praise can also help a great deal in reinforcing good habits in your child. Each time you see your kid consciously avoid succumbing to the urge of his bad habit, let him know that you noticed it and appreciate him for his actions. Follow each positive action with an appreciative treat that’ll help boost your child’s confidence and morale. You can also use his good behavior as a benchmark during times when he gets discouraged. Try to remind him of times when he managed to stay the entire day without finding the need to succumb to his bad habit.
- Stay Patient: This is probably the most important tip to keep in mind while trying to break your child’s bad habit. Patiently reason out with your child why his habit is wrong and give it time for him to get used to staying away from his long-established habit. Instead of using force and reprimanding your child, use polite statements like – “Good kids don’t do this. Aren’t you a good kid too?” Remember, just as habits don’t get formed overnight, they cannot be corrected overnight either. You and your little one must work together to overcome the challenge.
You can also try popular techniques like using safe, bitter-tasting over-the-counter compounds to prevent common habits like thumb sucking and nail biting. Despite trying all of these tips, if your child still seems to find it a challenge to let go of his bad habit, don’t shy away from visiting a general practitioner or child’s psychologist. Here’s wishing you luck with breaking your child’s foul habits.
About the Author:
Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.