From nose picking to thumb sucking- there are a plenty of inappropriate habits that your little one might pick up over the course of his growth period, and just like with temper tantrums, these can be difficult to handle. So how exactly can you help your kid break bad habits? Keep reading to find out just that.
Helping Your Kid Break Bad Habits
Work With, Not Against
As a parent, when you’re educating or pushing your child to overcome his bad habits, you automatically turn the opposite way, and become ‘against’ your child, which is something you don’t want. Work with your child and help him become more stronger, powerful and more in control of himself, helping him overcome his bad habits.
Offer a Substitute
Sometimes, when nothing else works, you can also consider offering your kid a substitute to limit his bad behavior. This actually works more of the time, because it is less of a punishment, but more of a sort of outlet for your kid to understand and change his ways. For example, if your kid has a habit of picking his nose, you can let him know he can do it only when he’s in the bathroom.
Understand the Behavior
This one’s a biggie- a lot of us don’t actually work on understanding the logic behind our child’s behavior, and end up being their biggest critics. Most of the time, children develop unwanted behavioral patterns due to an underlying issue or some source of stress. Sometimes, children may also develop these bad habits because they’re just seeking attention from their parents.
Praise & Reward
Praising and rewarding is another excellent strategy that almost always works when your kid seems to have picked a bad habit. Educate your kid about how his habit is bad, and how you’d be proud of him if he stops doing it, and when he does, make sure you praise him and occasionally reward him too.
This one’s an important step in helping your kid break his bad habits- you need to be discreet, especially if you feel your attention and nagging is only making things worse. Take things one step at a time, and don’t let him feel overwhelmed with working on too many bad habits together. Never embarrass your child in public. Never be rude towards them. Be private about his shortcomings- never open.
Shaming your child or making him feel bad about his behavior in an attempt to get him to break his bad habits doesn’t always work, and is a surefire way to worsen your relationship with him, and develop bitter feelings that may pass on into his adulthood as well. Be incredibly patient with him and support him.
Last, but definitely not the least, try to boost your child’s morale as much as you can. There’s a different kind of magic that happens when you start trusting your child, stop judging him and be more patient about him overcoming his bad habits. Be gentle in your approach, and always make sure your child feels supported by your behavior.