Editor’s Note from April: As deliberate mothers, we understand the power of habits. Based on the findings of Stanford researcher B.J. Fogg, a fantastic podcast about Tiny Habits® for Moms is coming to Power of Moms Radio next month! But this article by Linda Fogg-Phillips will introduce you to some concepts you can apply in your homes right away!
Melissa Turney’s kids wake up early. Really early. Sometimes before 5:00 am. This is not a behavior she encourages, but everything that happens after that is. Hannah (age 6), Paige (age 4), and even Sam (22 months) make their own beds and put their clothes in the hamper each day. After breakfast they’ll clear their own dishes. When playtime is over they put toys away. Stop by Turney’s house unannounced and you’ll be amazed at the order she maintains with her young brood. So what’s her secret?
Turney is a recent graduate of the Tiny Habits for Moms course, but she’s a lifelong pro at habit formation. Like the course instructors, she’s been creating effective routines for her kids since they were born. Parents often ask, “How soon can I teach Tiny Habits to my children?” Turney’s kids are evidence that the earlier you start, the more effective your training will be. Click here to get your free Tiny Habits tips for Moms.
The Early Roots of Habit Formation
Studies show that children develop lifelong habits breathtakingly early. For example:
- Household routines, such as doing chores and being responsible for one’s own belongings, are set by age 9.
- Financial habits are formed even earlier: A child’s basic beliefs and attitudes about money are formed by age 7.
- Dietary habits begin to take root from a child’s first meal, and the dietary patterns that can predict future obesity are established as early as 1 year old.
- Infants begin to make sense of their environment the moment they are born, and can detect patterns as early as 2 months old. By 4 months old the child will be able to recall objects and events that are not present, and by 1 year old he will be able to imitate even novel actions more than a week after he has observed them.
The research shows that your two month old is already learning to pay attention to repeated behaviors, and will soon begin to imitate them. That copy-cat behavior is the foundation for establishing lasting habits.
Continue reading the article on tinyhabitsacademy.org to find out tips for teaching your child household responsibilities.
Image provided by Melissa Turney; graphics by Anna Jenkins.