Our habits make us and our routine defines us. The sooner parents inculcate foundational habits in their kids, the easier it becomes for them to grasp any skill. But how do you make habits that last? By making them a part of your routine. Routine helps us persistently improve the habit and become a skilled learners.
It is believed that great success requires massive actions but in reality small, everyday progress leads to extraordinary results. James Clear, in his New York Timesbestseller, Atomic Habits mentions, “Habits are the compound-interest of Self-improvement’. He explains, just as money grows with compound interest, the effects of our habits don’t add up but multiply when you repeat them. You may not notice the results immediately, but eventually, you will be surprised by how much you have progressed by being consistent.
In explaining the math of habits Mr Clear says, “if you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero.” Therefore, getting your kids started early on power habits might be the best kind of investment you can do.
Now, what are power habits? Power habits enhance knowledge-building systems, communication skills and also help with creative expressions. It’s the best way to secure your kid’s future.
How Long Does It Take To Form a New Habit?
According to Dr Maxwell Martz, it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit. He shared his experiences and thoughts on behaviour change in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, published in 1960. The book says, “It usually requires a minimum of about 21 days to effect any perceptible change in a mental image. Following plastic surgery, it takes about 21 days for the average patient to get used to his new face. When an arm or leg is amputated the ‘phantom limb’ persists for about 21 days. People must live in a new house for about three weeks before it begins to ‘seem like home.’ These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to gel.”
As a parent, nudging your kid towards a good habit, showing patience and encouragement while they develop it is the best support you can give because every habit might not come easy and the time each child takes to develop might differ. And remember, consistency is far more important than pace.
Here is a list of 3 major foundational habits that every child should acquire to build a knowledge-building system, foster creativity and improve social skills. You can also practice these habits with them so it becomes fun for them.
Reading is like an exercise for your brain. It’s one of those habits that are common in almost all successful people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, etc. With so many alternatives for entertainment today, children are easily distracted. They might consider reading a book a task unless they are introduced to the right books and at the right time. Books not only expand knowledge but also teach us life lessons and keep us entertained.
As Bill Gates says, “Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding.“
Here’s how you get your kid to read:
- Read to them– Read story books aloud to your child at bedtime. Try interesting facial expressions and dramatic voices that go in flow with the story. Read it to them for a week and ask them to read to you for another week. This will help in their linguistic development.
- Visit a library/bookstore together– Take your child to bookstores and libraries, expose them to highly-regarded books (listed down below) and let them select the books that arouse their interest. This will lead them to explore a lot on their own too.
- Reading exercises– Give them some short and interesting comprehension passages to read within the stipulated time and ask questions at the end. This will allow them to focus better plus speed up their reading. This will help in their academics as well. To make it fun, participate with them. Let them give you a comprehension passage and ask you questions related to it. They’ll enjoy this because they’ll feel challenged.
As the child seems to genuinely enjoy this habit and sticks to the routine, you’ll notice their imagination, creativity, vocabulary thrive, and also their personality and outlook towards life shift. They can also become kind and empathetic in the company of books.
List of 10 Good Quality Books for Children:-
– A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley
– Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
– The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
– The Story of My Life by Hellen Keller
– The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
– But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook
– Everest by Sangma Francis & Lisk Feng
– Young Heroes: Inspirational Children from Around the World by Lula Bridgeport
– The Colours of History by Clive Gifford
– Flights of Fancy: Stories, Pictures and Inspiration from Ten Children’s Laureates by Quentin Blake Anne Fine Michael Morpurgo Jacqueline Wilson Michael Rosen Julia Donaldson Anthony Browne Malorie Blackman Chris Riddell and Lauren Child
A good writer is also a good reader. So, as your child gets into the habit of reading, you can consider fostering the habit of writing simultaneously. It is believed that children and adults learn more and memorize better while writing by hand than typing on a keyboard.
Researcher Van der Meer explains, “The use of pen and paper gives the brain more ‘hooks’ to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sensory experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better.”
That’s how writing becomes an important habit for children. Here are some of the benefits of writing:
- Works as a Stress buster– Writing helps in releasing stress. When a person writes their thoughts and emotions on paper without thinking about what will come out of it, they release stress. After jotting down the stuff in mind on paper, we are able to work and focus better.
- Expands knowledge and creativity- Writing regularly makes the mind sharper, enables us to think deeply and improve creativity. The effective way to develop these qualities into your child is to encourage them to start a blog. This will let them think and research harder since their work will be read by an audience.
- Helps in Memory Building– The act of writing involves more senses and motor neurons than typing. While writing, the areas of the brain get activated helping children to enhance their comprehension. Thus, it is always advisable to make notes of important things. Not only do you memorize them while writing but also you can revisit them later for exam preparations. Moreover, note-making is also an art that should be done in an organized manner and children should practice it from an early age.
- Helps in Developing Communication Skills– Writing is the best way to express and convey one’s thoughts, ideas and emotions. In this tech-driven world, we have to stay virtually connected to many people- our friends, relatives, acquaintances and being able to craft our thoughts always helps our case.
- Helps in Academics– Writing is also important on the academic front as students are required to write in assignments, answers, articles and essays, etc., which require good writing skills to score better. Also, today many colleges and universities ask candidates to write essays for their entrance exams, irrespective of the course they have opted for. The Exam is conducted to see the sophistication in their writing style. Moreover, writing becomes an important element in the course of the job.
- Prepares for Job Placements– Many jobs require employees to write on a daily basis; whether it is taking notes from meetings, giving presentations, working on a report or administrative work, writing emails, research papers,blogs etc. require a great deal of written work. The better the employee writes, the better he/she performs at their job. Also, you need to have good writing skills to prepare a perfect and appealing resume to apply for a new job. Therefore, it becomes essential that kids inculcate the habit of writing from the beginning.
Effective writing requires clarity, coherence and insights to have the desired effect on the reader. To develop these skills in your child, you can consider the methods suggested below:
- Attend Writing Workshops- Enroll your child in writing workshops to improve their writing skills. These workshops are structured efficiently and effectively that provide mini-lessons, work time and shared time. The writing workshops begin with ‘mini-lessons’. These lessons are conducted for about 15 mins that are focused to help your child become a better writer. Whereas, during ‘work time’ children write whatever task is given to them applying their learnings from mini-lessons. Parents can also participate in writing with their kids. Lastly, in ‘shared time’, 2-3 children share their writings with the class. The fellow peers act as an audience. These workshops are very helpful to develop writing skills in your child in a fun way.
- The Power of Journaling- Encourage your child to practise journaling. It is like a daily exercise in which your child will write their thoughts and emotions.. There are no certain set rules for writing journals. This activity helps the child to become more confident as they seem to express themselves better. It also promotes writing skills, communication and art skills and also articulates ideas, emotions and thoughts. It helps the child to think clearly by bringing down their trail of thoughts on paper.
- Essay/Article Writing- As your child masters the art of sentence and paragraph construction; teach them to write essays or articles on various topics. Teach them how to write the introduction, body and conclusion of the article. Teach them to plan, organize and structure the thoughts into a complete article or essay as well as the importance of revising and editing a written piece. Every day you give them a new topic. You can also write with them on the same topic to encourage them. After both of you finish writing, exchange and correct each other’s articles. It will become fun and a great way for them to learn. This habit will expand their knowledge and surely benefit them in the long term. After articles and essays, gradually encourage them to write diary entries, e-mails to friends and letters to relatives so that they enjoy writing and keep reforming their writing and social skills.
- Story writing- Encourage your kid to write stories using different prompts. Introduce them with genres and types of genres. Show them different images to come up with a story, narrate half of the story from a storybook and ask them to complete the rest. Give them a scene and ask them to write the dialogues and complete the scene. In this way, their imagination and creativity will enhance.
Technology has changed our lives with better access to information, greater convenience and revolutionizing the way we work. Tech skills prepare your kids for ever-changing work dynamics. With advanced teaching methods like Hybrid learning, learning tech skills are no more difficult. Your child can choose from learning to code, graphics, animation, making a digital photography portfolio, etc.
Today we use technology in almost everything in every part of our work and the future might see some more. Tech knowledge gives you an edge and increases the chances of advancing your career. Thus, everyone needs to be aware of technical skills regardless of their age, gender, job role, industry, etc.
Learning how to code gives the child an opportunity to create, share and collaborate, and not just become passive consumers of technology. You can enable your kid to demonstrate their ideas with tech skills like Coding and make their screentime productive.
You can also enrol your child for a free trial coding class with Tekie. Tekie’s uses storytelling and advanced teaching methods help kids to learn to code in an easy and fun environment. Book a free demo class now.
Benefits of inculcating learning tech skills into the hobby:-
- Developing Problem Solving Skills- learning how to code, developing websites and apps, creating digital photography portfolios, editing software and more allow children to develop useful skills and apply them to bring tech-related ideas into reality. This allows them to mould complex problems into manageable pieces. Such skills are highly demanded in top universities and high-skilled professions.
- Job placement- according to a 2017 report from Brookings, there seems to be an increasing demand for jobs with medium and high tech skills and a decrease in jobs requiring low-level tech skills. However, a survey from the European Commission found out that about 38 percent of organizations had adverse effects on their performance due to a lack of digital skills from their employees.
- Demolish the Gender Gap- Today there is a very less number of women working in the tech industries as compared to men. It is believed that if females are exposed to science, technology, engineering, arts and math early, then they can get an infinite number of job opportunities that they might not even know. Good parental support and participation can bridge this gender gap in the tech industry.
- Helps in getting admission to a leading college/university- Sometimes having good grades is not enough to get you admission to your favourite college. Hobbies and Extracurricular activities in the application form play a crucial role too, they help to make your application look appealing and stand out among thousands of other applicants with about the same grades. If the applicant’s curricular activity says coding then it will have a great impact on admission professionals.
- Develops the passion for Exploring- whether kids learn to create a new website or app or learn something in graphics and animations, an interest in tech develops an inquisitive mindset. It builds up the passion to know more and to explore more.
Even when things don’t work out in your favour, your habits help you move on and get you through difficult times. Plus, habits teach you the value of perseverance, which is one of life’s most important qualities in life. Hence, with these three key foundational habits, your child will stand out in every situation. These habits will back them with positive behaviour, confident attitude, skills for a 21st-century world.