Habits For My Toddlers
I’ve been musing over what I’ve been training my toddlers to do, and why. This is kind of a journal entry of sorts, marking for myself what I’m actively doing and have been doing as a reminder of where we are in this moment in time. I think I may make this sound easy, but I don’t mean to. I was actually surprised at the list I assembled, though of course, each is a work in progress! But it started with one small habit at a time. If there is one encouragement I could offer to other moms of toddlers, it would be to start small. Our children really do want to please us, and they are so smart. We just have to work with them and set them up for success.
Here is my current habit list:
Loving the outdoors
Appropriate table manners
Putting shoes and coats back in their places when entering the house
Loving to help by doing their chores well and promptly when asked
Loving to learn
Looking in people’s eyes when you shake their hands, say thank you, etc.
Saying “sorry” and asking forgiveness when wrong
Coming when called
Speaking up and being assertive
These are more important to me than any scholastic efforts at the moment. Why? I believe I’ll nip some rotten attitudes in the bud if I invest the time in these early days of my children’s lives in helping them develop a rich interior life, and a hardiness to do the right thing. Small daily practices are the key to a life well-lived.
I know this is true because I am constantly battling my own bad habits – I see the strain it takes to change! I’m also thankful every single day for the good habits I have; they keep me rolling along so I can turn my attention to other good things that require strength and energy.
Recently we have been prioritizing ten to fifteen minutes of school time each weekday. This includes math, practical tidbits like the days of the week, memorizing scripture and poetry, singing folk, sacred, and patriotic songs, nursery rhymes, and Bible stories. It is such a good time! Just yesterday on the way home from grocery shopping I said, “We will go home and put away the groceries and then enjoy school !” and my three year old shouted out, “Yay!” If that doesn’t motivate me to keep this habit up, I have a heart of stone. The fact that I am memorizing beautiful poetry and lyrics right alongside them is just icing on the cake.
Of course I’m not saying that habits can totally shield us from life’s tragedies. But we’re building healthy habits today because life is fantastic and it’s easier and richer with those habits helping us along the way.