How To Recognize Your Child’s Bad Habits Before They Begin
When my first baby was born I had a hard time getting her to sleep at night unless she was lying on my chest. Any reasonable new parent with an iota of experience dealing with newborns wouldn’t have done what I did, but you can probably guess how I got her to sleep every night. There she was, co-sleeping on my chest. There I was, trying not to move. It was not an optimal situation in the least, but it was how I managed to squeeze in some sleep.
It was at my daughter’s two week appointment when my doctor asked how the sleeping was going. I admitted to her that we had an odd arrangement, but was quick to add that even though I didn’t get the best sleep I was at least getting some sleep. My doctor -who was luckily very patient with me and my bizarre new parent antics- said something I would never forget.
“That might be okay for now, but what happens when she gets older?”
Kicking The Sleeping Habit
She explained to me that it’s one thing to have an eight pound baby on my chest every night but it’s another thing entirely to have a two year old who expects the same sleeping arrangements. That night was the first night my daughter did not sleep on my chest, and although it was not a very smooth night as far as sleeping was concerned, I knew that it would ultimately pay off in the long run.
I’ve used this philosophy so many more times with my kids. There are times when I want to make decisions because they are good for the short term, but stopped myself because I knew that I had to think long term. My toddler having a screaming tantrum in Target because he wants a candy bar is a great example. A candy bar would stop the tantrum, but what happens next time we go to Target? By never giving in to his tantrums, he quickly learned that tantrums do not equal candy bars. It paid off.
Kicking The T.V Habit
Our current battle is television in the morning before preschool. There have been so many times I have wanted to switch the TV on so I can take an uninterrupted shower or maybe even slap on some makeup before taking my son to preschool, but I knew that in the long term, TV in the mornings would become a bad habit. So I made a rule: No TV before school. Period. No exceptions. Once in a while my son will ask to watch a show before school and all I have to do is ask, “What is the rule?” and he’ll sigh and reply in a defeated voice, “No TV before school” and so ends the discussion.
The Best Way to Kick a Bad Habit is to Not Let it Develop
Think about the long term benefits of your decisions now instead of focusing on the ease of a short term fix. It pays off.