4 Habits to Teach Your Child

Feb 12, 2013

We've all heard the saying, "Old habits are hard to break". The good news is that this doesn't only apply to bad habits. Good habits are also hard to break. Bad habits are easy to recognize and even easier to put into action. Good habits, however, are more difficult to identify and even more difficult to adopt. Still, Charlotte Mason assured parents:

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days."

Here are some ideas for habits:


Cleanliness can be taught from infancy simply by keeping the child and the environment clean. What they become accustomed to will become their habit. Daily bathing of the child, keeping the house clean and aired out, and providing clean clothes help to develop this habit.


"A place for everything and everything in it's place". Children can be taught to pick up their playthings as a part of their play itself. If it's a part of the process, then it becomes habit.


The power of attention is important. Training our children from infancy to pay attention closely to pick up the details will benefit them in their academics, but in their dealings with other people and at work. This can be begun in infancy by simply having them look at an interesting thing for a few more seconds than they would have. In homeschool lessons, this habit can be strengthened by making the lessons no longer than the child's attention span and then move to a vastly different activity to keep their mind "fresh".


The use of creative imagination is an all-important habit. Imagine a world with no Dr. Seuss, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerbergs! Logic has played a great part in their creations, but only because it was coupled with creative imagination. Creativity is key to invention.

Scheduling a mechanical lesson (let's say..writing) just before of after an intellectual skill (such as math); a logical lesson (science) just before of after a fun imaginative lesson (putting on a drama or reading Alice in Wonderland), not only secures the power of attention but encourages the use of imagination and various thinking skills. A child cannot truly appreciate imagination unless it is contrasted with logic and reason.

Here is a bonus habit. But this one is for the parents rather than the child.

Habit forming

Helping our children form good habits seem a daunting task, but if we stay the course, we will be forming a habit of our own: Habit forming. The ability to calmly, lovingly and consistently form good habits in our children is of benefit to parent, child, family and society.
“Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend” (Vol. 1, p. 118).
Once you have a particular habit in mind, focus on it daily until your child has demonstrated an acceptable level of mastery before moving on to the next habit.

What other habits do you believe it's important to teach children? Share them in the comments. 


  1. I've discovered that we parents truly have to train ourselves in Habit Training.

  2. @Lanaya I agree! And isn't "not habit training" just as difficult a habit to break as any?


Join the conversation!