There are moments, every now and again, when it clicks. When your kid drops something out of the routine that says “This is all worth while.”
Maybe it’s a kind gesture, or it’s a piece of wisdom, or it’s an acrobatic feat. It’s just a little thing that breaks the everyday drama of parenting that shows you your kids are listening and learning.
We had one last weekend when I was out adventuring with the boys in the country. We came upon a small town and home to about half a dozen geocaches. One was across the street from a church and featured a huge playground with half a dozen slides, climbing nets, swings, and more.
“PARK!” they shouted in unison. “There’s a geocache here too, guys,” I responded. “I want to go to the park,” said Charlie.
“Well, how about you guys play at the park, and I’ll look for the geocache in the trees on the side?”
“Hey, Daddy! That’s a win-win!!”
And I smiled. Yes, it is a win-win. Zacharie’s kindergarten class has been following the 7 Habits Of Happy Kids throughout the year. They’ve learned to be proactive, sharpen the saw, synergize, and look for win-wins.
It was a small moment at a park at a middle-of-nowhere town, but it was a proud moment. Zacharie was learning. He was growing.
Check out the 7 Habits Of Happy Kids, and see how you an incorporate the lessons into your parenting.
7 Habits Are Easy To Learn 1 of 9
My son's school worked through the habits with a collection of work sheets they would color. Here are his works of art along with explanations of how he uses each of the 7 habits.
Be Proactive 2 of 9
The lesson: I am in charge of me.
Kids learn that they can do the right thing without being asked, or without anyone watching. They don't blame others for their own wrong actions and accept personal responsibility.
Zacharie says: "Sadie and me were talking talking talking at work time. I was proactive by changing spots so I can concentrate."
Begin With The End In Mind 3 of 9
The lesson: Have a plan.
Kids learn to plan ahead and set goals and to be a good citizen not only in the classroom, but in their community.
Zacharie says: "First I think about something. Then I think about it some more. Then I do it."
Put First Things First 4 of 9
The lesson: Work first, then play.
When you make a plan (see habit 2), you learn to set priorities. Sticking to the plan helps kids learn which activities are most important for success, and which are unnecessary.
Zacharie says: "Clean up my room and clean up my toys before I can go outside to play. Do something you need to do before you do something you want to do."
Think Win-Win 5 of 9
The lesson: I win, you win, we win.
Kids learn to balance their needs with the needs of others. When conflicts arise, they look for third alternatives that can be mutually beneficial while also learning how to make "deposits" into others' "emotional bank accounts."
Zacharie says: "The time we went to the park AND looked for geocaches! That was gagnant-gagnant (win-win), Daddy!"
Seek First To Understand 6 of 9
The lesson: Listen before you talk.
Kids learn empathy and try to see things from others' viewpoints. Kids learn to look others in the eyes when having a conversation and try to listen without interrupting.
Zacharie says "When someone is talking, you need to listen to with your eyes and your heart too. Your eyes are to look, your ears are to listen, and your heart is to love what they're saying."
Synergize 7 of 9
The lesson: Together is better.
Kids learn to work together as a team and to actively seek out the opinions of others. By having a broad understanding of opinions on issues, kids can create better solutions to their tasks. It's all about valuing the strengths of others, being humble, and learning.
Zacharie says "If someone gives up, every one else helps them try over and over again."
Sharpen The Saw 8 of 9
The lesson: Balance feels best.
All work and no play will wear you out. Yes, kids need to put first things first, they need to plan, they need to be proactive, but they also need to play. If your saw gets dull, you're ineffective, kids need to learn that play is a valuable tool to help them work better. Healthy choices and habits are at play here as well as kids learn the value of sleep and healthy eating to keep them sharp and at their best.
Zacharie says: "I like to relax by rock climbing, riding my bike, and playing Spider-Man with my brother."
7 Habits Of Happy Kids 9 of 9
The book by Sean Covey has 7 great stories you can read to your kids with themes relating to each of the habits. At the end of each section there is a great conversation starter with questions you can ask your kids to help them learn the 7 Habits. By the way, these are the same 7 Habits that Stephen Covey (Sean's dad) preached, so you can probably learn a thing or two as well.