Automaticity is the neurological process that allows us to drive, walk, and complete other simple and repetitive behaviors without conscious thought. This ability is a large part of habit formation. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology noted that automaticity could take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to take root. The researchers noted that consistency helped new habits form quickly. Choosing simple, clear, and trackable goals is the best way to stay consistent. Encourage your child to adopt these tiny changes to their daily routine to realize some big long-term rewards.

Fine-Tune Morning Routines

Your morning sets the tone for the whole day. Get your family off on the right foot with these simple routine tweaks.

  • Keep kids focused on a timeline. Include grooming, eating, chores, and anything else that needs to be done before the family leaves for the day. Add the time by which each activity should be completed.
  • Gather clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories the night before to reduce morning time demands. Pay attention to homework, special notices, library books, and other school-related details.
  • Get a healthy start to your day with yummy and nutritious make-ahead breakfast menus.
  • Have your children set an alarm each night. This gives them the responsibility for getting themselves up on time.
  • Institute a no-electronics time at least an hour before bedtime so kids can get to sleep more easily.

These simple changes smooth out hectic family morning routines, reduces stress, and help each family member get the best start possible to their day.

Reduce Resistance

There are many causes of defiant or resistant behavior in children. However, these changes will reduce episodes of unruliness.

  • Schedule frequent family meetings to discuss common issues and goals. Make sure everyone gets a turn to speak.
  • Make mutual respect and good manners a family priority. Having family rules or guidelines in a visible place can be a helpful reminder.
  • Encourage older children to solve problems among themselves. Model this behavior by talking through the situation with them.
  • Participate in a family hobby. Whether it’s sports, model building, or planting a garden, doing things together will strengthen bonds and reduce the severity of the conflict.

Resistant or defiant young ones need structure, guidance, and a sense of safety to thrive.

Support Academic Success

Create habits in your children that will help them achieve academically without increasing stress.

  • Set a time to complete homework assignments and put them on the family schedule.
  • At the beginning of each school year, help students organize notebooks, binders, folders, books, and other learning tools.
  • Show your teen how to create a schedule that includes time for schoolwork, socializing, extracurricular activities, and obligations at home.
  • Physically restrict access to electronics to help kids concentrate during study time.
  • Talk to your child every day about what’s going on in their lives. Parent interest is an essential component of academic success.

With consistent effort, even small changes can reap big rewards. Over time, these little habits will have a positive impact on your whole family.

Anthony Cupo is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.

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