bad habits

7 Habits We Teach Our Kids But Often Fail To Do Ourselves

In 2011 I became a dad. Having a son was a big change in mine and my wife’s lives.

Since we have had a new family member in our home, I have been thinking about parenthood quite a bit. Although our son is still quite young (1 year and two months old when writing this), I have also been thinking about the future years of my son.

Specifically, I have been thinking of all the different lessons that I can teach him as he grows up.

At the same time, I have noticed that there are conflicts in the lessons that we adults teach to our children. It seems that very often what we teach is actually quite different from what we actually do.

When you look at this list, does it sound familiar?

1.     Go to bed early.

We teach our kids to go to bed early, so that they can wake up alert for school or for kindergarten the next morning.

Yet at the same time, we stay up late by watching television or browsing the Internet and we feel tired when we wake up.

Maybe it is time to change our habits a bit, so that we go to bed earlier as well.

It doesn’t mean that we should go to bed at 8PM like little Johnny does. Instead, we should unwind before going to bed and try to have at least seven hours of sleep.

By doing this, you are showing a good example to your children and you feel good about yourself too. Wouldn’t it be great to be as alert as a kid when he/she wakes up after well-rested, right?

2.     Eat sweets on Saturdays only.

Eating sweets is unhealthy and we get holes in our teeth. That’s what we tell to our kids.

I remember that in my childhood, there was one specific day of the week (on Saturdays), when I could eat sweets by my parent’s permission. This same sweet day still exists in many households with small children nowadays.

If this is what we teach to our children, how come we adults tend to eat snacks, sweets and other unhealthy stuff all week long – even when we only allow our kids to eat this stuff once a week? Maybe we should have a sweet day too!

Better eating habits would not only improve our health, but we would lose some weight as well and our general alertness would improve radically.

3.     Put things back where they belong.

Our kids should be organized. To teach this, we ask them to put things back where they belong.

Unfortunately this isn’t always so with adults.

We should organize our homes in a way that things are easy to put back where they were taken from.

When we have designated and accessible locations for everything, it is easier to keep the household clean instead of leaving stuff on the floor, on table tops or any other places like that.

4.     Do your homework now – not at the last minute.

Teaching your kid to be proactive and take care of things right away is a very good skill to learn.

However, do we parents do the same as what we teach to our kids? How many times did you do something at the last minute and in a hurry (and you did it only because there was a deadline lurking on the horizon)?

Maybe the next time you should do exactly the same as what you teach to your kids. Take care of things right away by setting some time aside in your calendar. Doing this prevents you from last minute urgencies and unnecessary stress.

5.     Don’t yell and shout.

Please be quiet, don’t yell, and don’t shout.

This advice is very commonly given to our kids, but it doesn’t seem to have any significance when we are interacting with other adults.

We adults yell and shout at times – whether it is to our kids, our spouses or other people. Our behavior is conflicting to what we teach to our children.

Although emotions are part of life, raising your voice unnecessarily should be avoided as much as possible. Maybe you want to think twice (or count to ten) before yelling at someone for whatever reason.

6.     Leave your plate empty.

The idea behind this noble lesson is to teach a kid that food is valuable and it shouldn’t be wasted. Therefore, it is important to eat until one’s plate is empty.

How come then we require this from our children when we are throwing the food away ourselves?

You don’t have to fill the plate with so much food at once. Instead, take smaller portions, eat until the plate is empty and if you still feel hungry, fill your plate again. And by the way, you can teach this same thing to your kids too.

7.     Don’t curse.

It is important to teach our kids manners. Especially that cursing is something that should be avoided.

When we tell our children to stop cursing, why are we adults doing it in our everyday talks? Especially when cursing at home, it is a sure way to teach that habit to your children as well.

 

Conclusion

Small kids are very clever. They study us adults very carefully and eventually they imitate our habits.

That’s why it’s important to set the right example to your children, so that they don’t inherit the same bad habits as we have.

 

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.

  • http://www.screwthesystemnow.com/ ScrewtheSystemJoe

    I like the article and agree with most points but would challenge number 6. Think it’s really important to teach kids that when they’ve had enough food to satisfy their hunger then they shouldn’t eat anymore – even if that means throwing the rest of the food away.

    I help a lot of people with weight loss and if I had a penny everytime I saw someone with an issue conditioned into them by their parents about HAVING to eat everything on their plate (even when their hunger has been satisfied) would be a very rich man. Of course, you can make smaller portions and I agree with this point but conditioning kids into this habit can leave them with real problems in adulthood.  

    • http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ Timo Kiander

      Hi!

      I guess this all depends … on the other hand you might also want to teach your kids the right portion sizes.

      For instance, I was taught that I can always take more to my plate after I have finished the food I already have.

      That way we could minimize the food waste as much as possible.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • http://www.theconfidencelounge.com/ Aaron Morton

    good article and one that does highlight some things we think we should do as adults as well. However as adults we have the advantage of thinking about ways to get around doing these behaviours!

    Aaron

    • http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ Timo Kiander

      Hi Aaron!

      We sure do!

      Cheers,
      Timo

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  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    We often do things we tell our kids not to.   My biggest on this list is #5, as I yell “I told you to stop yelling back at me and clean your room.” (I do keep my own room clean).  

    • http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ Timo Kiander

      Hi Dan!

      Yep … it’s really eye-opening to see that some of the lessons we teach are exactly that we do ourselves.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • braincutlery

    Really love the philosophy of this post.  We don’t hold ourselves to our own standards and could all do to look ourselves in the mirror more often.

    Won’t be long before your little boy will be pointing this out to you himself!

    • http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ Timo Kiander

      Hey!

      So true!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • http://www.financialfreedomnewsletter.net/best-working-conditions-for-increasing-productivity/ Rynessa Cutting

    It’s definitely a slap to the face when your kid/ sibling calls you out. Having been a kid at one point, and even now (my mother still likes to tell me what to do) , you feel like you’re being cheated or deceived, or like the person giving you direction is a hypocrite. I know now from experience it’s just that some things are easier said than done. I still go to bed late and wake up feeling groggy. Blame it on TV :)

  • http://www.financialbailoutnews.com/crucial-skills-to-prepare-your-children-for-financial-success/ Morgan@Financial Bailout News

    So true! Whenever I babysit and put the children to bed, they always get mad that I stay up late and they go to bed early. I should pretend to take a nap on the couch so they don’t catch on that I practice different habits than they do and they learn to follow my advice!

  • Ibti001

    so true, kids are very very clever, they ape each and every move what we make. very nice article.