We are all products of the environments we grow up in. Sometimes we take on the behaviors and habits of our parents to a tee. Other times, we rebel and go in another direction. Individual personality plays a role, but nurture will always have a part in shaping nature. Being a good “head of family”, if such a thing exists, is all about the habits we help shape. To that end, it’s worth thinking about the traditions that exist in the family and starting ones that can do real good.
Family members can be naturally close and talk about just about anything together. That relationship might continue to grow and you might very well be your child’s best friend through most of their life growing up. However, it’s worth taking the time learning not only how to talk but how to listen and really engage with your children to build that habit. When they tell stories, ask follow-up questions. Ask how certain events or things make them feel. When you’re telling them something, explain concepts simply and make sure they understand before you carry on without them.
Grow healthy together
Healthy habits, like exercise and diet, are best taught by example and together. Be a role model, by making sure they see the effort you put into staying fit. When making healthy dinners, get them more involved and engaged in cooking with them. It’s worth trying to find exercises they get some enjoyment out of, like nature walks or sports you can play together, so they can feel real benefit from it, too. Preventing heart disease and fighting obesity are abstract concepts that kids don’t latch onto easily. Make the exercise more immediately beneficial for them.
This is more for the adults in the family, but it’s an important tradition. Once a month, you should sit down, look at what expenses you have. If you have debt, look at how you tackle it, whether you’re using tools like consolidated.credit to make it more manageable or if you’re cutting as many costs as you should. Look at savings goals and how you’re contributing towards them. Not only is it important to keep track of the family finances, but this is another case of how kids learn from adults. If they see you as financially responsible, they’re more likely to grow up to become just as conscientious about money.
Create and share
Schools make some effort to encourage creativity from kids, but they are focused on grades and academic progression first and foremost. Creating an environment of pressure free creativity is up to you. You can find creative practices to take part in together as theconversation.com highlights. But you can also spark their creative interests by helping them get into mediums like reading. Finding that spark of inspiration in your child can give them a pastime and a passion that could stick with them for life.
You can encourage habits you think are good, and try to divert time and energy from ones you think unhealthy. You won’t always be successful, but living and keeping these traditions can help you build the bedrock, the awareness that makes it a lot likely your family is going to be safe and happy and that your kids will follow in your footsteps.