How to Encourage Your Kids to Form Better Habits

Tallahassee Parents,

There are many ideas and philosophies to get your kids to take action or make the right choices. None of them have to be all right or all wrong, it is what works for you and your family.

Here are two quick techniques that can make parenting a little easier.

Give You Child 2 Choices, Not Open Ended Choices

Kids are young with underdeveloped frontal lobes, the part of the brain that is responsible for making choices. Give them an open ended question to make their own choices and they will most likely pick the path of least resistance or what is more fun for them. Give them two choices steering them to the path you think is best and most likely you will get them to do what they you wish.

It could be as simple as this: You tell your child to take a shower and brush their teeth and they naturally resist you on one of them because it is boring or they are tired and don not feel like doing both. An alternative method, ask them, “Do you want to brush your teeth before or after your shower?” The child feels like they are in control, gets to pick how they want to do it, but don’t question why do I have to do either of them.

Technique number 2, Habit Stacking

Building momentum is important in anything you do from exercising or completing a work project. We all have habits we like to do or do naturally. Habit stacking is adding another habit or task to something you naturally already do. It could be gurgling with mouth wash after you brush your teeth or checking your tomorrow’s task list when you are packing up to leave work. You already have momentum in your favor, now just add one more thing and watch how much easier it is. This will work when you have your kids doing task too, just don’t over stack them all at once! Gradual progress is the key.

Try both these techniques and see how they work for you. Believe it or not, it might take some trial and error to get good at these, but you should be happy with the overall change.

If you are interested in contacting Brad Fantle for speaking engagements you may reach him by email at He is a 7th Degree Black Belt with Tiger Rock Martial Arts, has 25 years experience working with children and teaching self-defense, an ADHD Coach and has a BA in Sports & Fitness from the University of Alabama

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