Sticky Notes - The Power of Habits
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The Power of Habits

September 28, 2022 by Emily Moore

Keep the Change: Making Habits Stick

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” - Dr. Seuss

 Here’s something I wish I’d learned about much earlier in life: the power of habits – especially for kids. Why? Because when you form a habit, your brain basically goes on autopilot. You can complete tasks without having to think about them and conserve valuable brain space for other activities. And when kids go on autopilot – just doing what they need to do (washing their hands before cooking, clearing the table after a meal, prepping lunch boxes the night before school) –there’s no need for nagging anymore.

 As parents, we do a lot to help our kids build habits around things like brushing teeth and getting to bed. What about kitchen habits? Are there some habits around meals and cooking that you’d like your kids to develop?

Try leveraging these proven strategies for success: 
  • Habit Stacking: This means pairing a habit that you’d like to develop with one that’s already established. For example, my husband and I run the dishwasher at night and unload it during the 7 minutes it takes the coffee to brew in the morning. We’re rewarded with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and one chore checked off the list before 7:00am – sweet!
  • Reward Bundling: Like habit stacking, Reward Bundling is pairing something you don’t want to do, with something you do want to do. So, maybe your kiddo gets to choose the music they listen to while doing the dishes. Suddenly, washing the dishes isn’t quite so bad!
  • Changing Your Environment to Support Your Goal: This is another helpful strategy. Let’s say your goal is for your kids to eat more fruits and veggies. Try stashing packaged snack foods way back in the cupboard. Then set out a plate of seasonal fresh fruit wedges in plain sight on the table. Your kids are more likely to reach for the tasty option that’s right in front of them than to rummage in the pantry for Pirate’s Booty (or whatever). 
Here's to more healthy habits and more brain space!

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