Out of all the 7 Habits for Happy Kids, this one is the hardest for children to keep. Obviously, most of us choose to do the easier things first. As we grow into adulthood, it makes this habit harder to break. So, how can we make it easy for our children to put first things first – then play?
Put First Things First — Then Play
I have researched and experimented with my own son what works best for us. I found some great ideas that I want to share and hopefully they will help your child learn to spend time on the most important things and say no to things he knows he shouldn’t do. By setting priorities, making a schedule, and following a plan, your child can learn discipline and organization.
Learn To Prioritize
There are the same amount of minutes every day, so how do people get so much more done than others? Well, they prioritize! And you do that how you ask? Easy! Sit down with your child (or you can do this as a family) and make a list of the things you do daily. Every task from waking up to eating breakfast, to going to school to homework, doing your chores to any hobbies or sports you’re in. With your child, rank the tasks by importance. Have you put first things first? If so, now rewrite the list in order and hang it where it will be seen easily. Remember, there are big things in life, and there are little things. Family responsibilities are always important, the big things, so those should be close to the top, along with school. Use your “leftover” time for things that are important, but not urgent.
Let Me Schedule That In
Now that you have your priorities listed, start by making a daily schedule. Use 30-minute time blocks to from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. By making a visual schedule, you will be able to manage your time more wisely. Each day may be different depending on if you have a certain sport or hobby going on that day. Using a daily schedule will allow you to fill in your most important tasks first and then use your leftover time for the other things. You will be surprised how managing your time will allow you more time for play!
I Have A Plan
Teaching your child to have a plan, not only helps them create goals – but helps them accomplish their goals! Talk with your child about how to put first things first then play. For example, at homework time, instead of going for the easiest assignment, do the hardest one first. Get it out of the way, so the rest will be easier! It’s important to stick a plan so there is no arguing or getting upset when the task needs to be completed. Be part of your child’s success by showing them to be productive and plan to put the important things first.
As your children grow up, the future skills that can be learned by putting first things first will have a significant impact on them. They will be able to develop self-management skills, cultivate a strong work ethic, demonstrate time-management skills, be accountable for their choices and responsible for their actions and results.
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