Changing habits is really just about course-correcting, so you implement more structure and clear expectations for your kids. Essentially, you are creating boundaries within the family unit.
“Secure boundaries set by the parent, not negotiated by the child, reduce anxiety. Rules and routines like meal times, bed times, homework time, and screen time — that are set and monitored by the parent — create predictability in a child’s life. Predictability reduces uncertainty, and that reduces anxiety,” notes author and therapist Krissy Pozatek, MSW. “Parents should not value a child’s self-expression over a child’s sense of security. For example, when a child tries to negotiate a later bedtime this comes at a cost of the child’s sense of security because it allows the child to feel he or she has more power than the adult.”
One easy way to do this for children is by setting up household chores and responsibilities with instructions about when and who should complete them.
“It’s a really important thing: Research has found that kids who have chores build critical life skills. The point is that they learn how to become contributing members of their household, manage daily self-sufficient life skills that you need as an adult,” says author and child care expert Caroline Maguire, M.Ed. “I believe in that kind of citizenship: You are a member of this family unit, and we all help each other out. I am not asking you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. When people grow up and become part of a relationship—be it partner or roommate—you think of others. You don’t always just take care of yourself. Chores teach that.”
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