It's great that we can identify the need to make adjustments to our lives and focus on behaviors that can drive improvement.  We get excited about the opportunities and start out with the best of intentions!  But then...well, sometimes life happens!

Making a habit "stick" can be a lot more challenging than we think!  There are varying opinions about how long it takes to turn a "behavior" into a "habit," ranging anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months!  The reality is, it's unique to each person and the habit they're trying to build.  

There are a number of things we can do to help develop life-long habits, for both children and adults:

1. Start small - be realistic about your goals and what you expect from the child.  Taking small steps can lead to better results and give you opportunities for "small wins" along the way.

2. Make accommodations - understand that this may require giving up something else to achieve your goal, at least temporarily.  Be realistic about what it will take to make this happen, especially with children.

3. Ensure committment - either for yourself or for your children, there has to be the desire to create this habit.   Change is much more difficult when you have to overcome resistance! 

4. Find or offer support - this is especially true with children.  It's great to have a buddy to help you stay committed.  Give them all the support they need to keep going!

5. Celebrate along the way - provide incentives with kudos for achievements throughout the process.  Help support the children by acknowledging their effort as well as their achievement.

6. Keep going - even when the going gets tough, don't give up!  Often we create obstacles in our mind that are far greater than they are in reality.  Use support and encouragement to reach the goal! 

7. Make it routine - find ways to integrate the new habit into daily routines so it becomes second-nature.  Repetition is a great way to build long-term learning!


Whether for yourself or your children, good habits take time to develop.  Be patient, be supportive and celebrate the journey!  Good habits can make a big difference in our lives, from health to academics and even personal relationships, and are definitely worth the investment!


For more information on behavior management, try our online classes:

Basic Behavior Management

Lunchtime is Learning Time

Teaching Children Good Habits


Writing Good Rules Lists