Start your year off with some great habits for you and your kids! Habits are critical every day in the lives of students. Everyone has some good habits and everyone has some, let’s say, not-so-good habits. Regardless of what you believe, habits affect all of us. A habit is something you frequently do that doesn’t take conscious effort to do.

    I don’t want to waste my breath mentioning the bad habits in our lives because we all know what they are and the awful effects they have on our lives. Instead, we all need to focus on some good habits that are critical to creating successful children (and adults).

    Remember, researchers say it can take as little as seven repetitions to turn a practice into a habit. Here are some ideas to get your year going. 

    1. Let’s start off the year by reading with your child every night. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read. Reading together doesn’t just help them read, it helps strengthen your connection to each other.

    2. Flashcards. Practice reading and math flashcards with your children. Using flashcards with your kids helps build “automaticity.” Automaticity is just another word for habit. The more familiar your child is with words or math facts, the more they can concentrate on the substance of the sentences or problems.

    3. A well-balanced diet that is low in sugar is essential for a healthy child. A well-balanced diet is also a key in learning. Nutrients are important for brain function and will help students remain focused and retain information.

    4. Plenty of sleep is a vital key to success at school. Each of you have experienced your child’s “frantic” state of panic when they are exhausted. When your child is exhausted, teaching them is next to impossible. Likewise, if they are falling asleep in class, there won’t be much learning happening!

    5. Routine, routine, routine, kids need routines. Normal routines are going to bed, waking up, eating and studying at nearly the same time every day. Other beneficial routines include rules and discipline. Having set rules and consequences gives your child boundaries and helps them know what to expect regularly.

    We all know that habits can be good or bad. Despite what your New Year’s resolutions are, we can all benefit from making habit of the above practices. Making a habit of these will not only help your child succeed, it will help society as a whole to succeed.  Let’s do our best to make the world a better place this year.

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