They say it only takes 30 days to form a new habit. That makes summer a great time to start! From putting our school supplies back in the cabinets to learning to wait for our turn, the four R’s are a great way to help kids develop new habits. The four R’s also work for parents, so why not work toward forming a new habit together?

  1. Readiness is the first step. You will need to explain to your child what the new habit is and why they are doing it. For some habits, like switching over to cursive handwriting, you’ll also have to explain how. When they are able to recite it back to you, then they fully understand the concept and are ready to begin.
  2. Repeating is the next step. Just like riding a bicycle or playing the piano, the more we do something, the more naturally it comes—and the better we get! Be sure to praise your children as you remind them to practice their new habits. You will sound like a broken record, but remember: that’s okay if it’s playing your favorite song.
  3. Rewarding is the most fun step. Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s definitely a place for rewards in the classroom. When I was in school, I read tons of books every year just to get my own personal-size pizza. I did hundreds of math problems to help kids in a cancer hospital (and get a cool t-shirt with a calculator on the front.) In contrast to a bribe (which usually involves bargaining, nagging, or threatening) a reward is an immovable incentive to do something above and beyond what is already expected.
  4. Reminding is the final (and most crucial) step. Once your child has formed a new habit, it is so encouraging for them to receive reminders that they are doing a good job. Seeing their parents, mentors, and heroes grow in a new habit is just the type of positive reinforcement that will help your child want to pick up new habits again in the future.

NCHE members receive a FREE new habit chart download this month. Click here to become an NCHE member or renew your membership.

Are you starting any new habits this summer? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.