Encouragement

8 Habits to Break as a Family

There are some things Mark and I learned along the way in parenting that we spent way too much time learning, so don’t make the same mistakes! Good habits take time to form. Here are 8 Habits to Break as a Family—work on them with yours. Trust me, you will be thankful you didn’t waste your time or opportunities! 

Bickering

This one is tough. It is something that can be a big distraction for the family! With our big family, I had to find quick ways to deal with it. For example, when we would be in the car and bickering would start, I would literally pull the car over. If they didn’t stop, I would check my phone and wait for them to stop. Another example is if the kids fought over a toy, the next day I would make the toy disappear, and when they would ask why, I would say that they just weren’t ready for the privilege of the toy. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets—so stop it in its tracks now!

Disorganization

We will never have the ‘perfect’ household, but shooting to have a general organization over things is a good idea. It all starts with keeping a great calendar for everyone. It isn’t one that I am particularly good with because I love being involved in each and every project or conversation; I had to teach myself to control the schedule and stick to it. iMOM.com can help you be better organized and help your kids from suffering from disorganization. Organization starts with you, Mom and Dad! I personally love Clutter Jail—it worked so well with my five.

Wasteful Spending

When we would take our kids out for dinner, we would curb wasteful spending by having everyone order water instead of a soda. It saved us $10 each time! Another way to eliminate wasteful spending: we would ask each child, “Is this a need or a want?” If it was a need, we would joyfully get that item for them; but if it was a want, our kids would have to save for the item themselves. Have them use our Share, Save, Spend printable so they can start creating good money habits for themselves.

Over-scheduling

This is also a really tough one that applies to every family—it frazzles everyone. Don’t spoil the fun! Our rule was you can do one extracurricular sport or activity per season or year. Also, divide and conquer between the two of you since you can’t do it all. Create a family calendar with everyone’s schedule on it, print it and put it on the fridge. Then everyone will be able to see what to expect. You can also put other things on the calendar like important birthdays so that your kids can see the priority.

Not Having Family Dinner

When we find ourselves getting so busy throughout the week, this is the activity that suffers. Make it a priority to have family dinner together at least 3 or 4 times a week. This is where conversation and relationships happen—don’t let it slip away!

Technology

We are less social today because of social media. What an oxymoron! Don’t let your kids take their phone or tablet to their room at night, and turn off the TV on the weekdays. Encourage them to spend time playing outside, or with their friends in person. Here are a few of the technology contracts we have created to help you!

Skipping Church

It is so easy when you’re tired on Sunday to skip church, but make worshipping with your family at church a priority! This is the most important thing you will do together as a family.

Comparison

Do not compare your kids to other kids, your spouse to other spouses—we have enough pressure from peers on social media to live a perfect life. Don’t add to that pressure. Talk about how great your family is and be thankful for who you are, what you are, and be a positive light for your kids.

You can listen to more about this on Mark and my podcast here. Here are 5 Bad Kid Behavior Issues to break early with your kids as well!

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  • Kim

    I am curious about the over scheduling one. Susan says they only do one extracurricular activity a year/season. I think that is a great suggestion but I am curious what counts as extracurricular. Year-round my kids have church on Wednesday night. During the school year, my kids also take piano lessons. My daughter was a 7th grader last year and was in band at school and on the middle school tennis team. So with church, piano, band, and tennis, would that be 4? Or does band not count since in middle school, it’s mostly during school hours? I’m genuinely curious because we have 5 kids as well and I don’t want to be over-scheduled as it is a drain on family time and family finances. Just curious to hear wisdom and suggestions.

    • Hi Kim, Church was not an extracurricular for us on Sundays or Wednesdays. If your daughter does band as a class during school that would not count either because it is not eating up “extra” time. Piano and tennis would count as 2 extracurricular activities. You are like me so if each of our 5 kids had 2 activities it would equal 10 extra activities a week! That is a lot for one family. There have been times I have made exceptions if the child is extremely passionate about both activites and the activity does create too much difficulty with family scheduling. I also made an exception for sports that slightly over lap. For example, my son played football and basketball in high school. I didn’t have to drive him because it was at school so it wasn’t extra run around for me or my husband. So as long as his grades were up and the coaches could handle the overlap in seasons I was ok with it. It is hard to choose but most often when they do everyone in the family enjoys all of it more! Especially the younger kids who end up running around in the car all afternoon as passengers while older siblings are dropped at all of their activities.