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The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

Habit 1: Be Proactive.  

To be proactive means to take responsibility for your choices and behaviors.  Habit 1: Be Proactive, is the key to all of the other habits; that’s why it comes first.  Be Proactive says “I am the leader of my own life. I am the leader for whether I’m happy or sad. I am the leader of how I react to other people or situations.”

Talk to your children about how they are the leader of taking care of themselves, taking care of their things, reacting/not reacting to other people’s comments, and planning ahead.

Books that reinforce Habit 1:

  •    Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  •     King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
  •    On My Honor by Marion Bauer
  •    Salt in His Shoes, Michael Jordon: In Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan 
  •    Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Expect your child to use words and phrases like choices, responsibility, proactive, and “stop and think” in their conversations. You can encourage your child by using some of this language at home. You may have an opportunity to share your feelings with your child about Be Proactive.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 1!

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Pipe

 

 

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind. 

Begin with the End in Mind means to think about how you would like something to turn out- before getting started. Reading a recipe before cooking or looking at a map before leaving on a trip is beginning with the end in mind. 

For children thinking about what they want a picture or a project to look like before starting or looking at the cover of a jigsaw puzzle before putting it together is beginning with the end in mind.

Books that reinforce Habit 2

  •    The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
  •    Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  •    Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  •    The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
  •    Eddie, Incorporated by Phyllis Naylor
  •    The School Story by Andrew Clements

Expect your child to use words like begin with the end in mind, goals, choices, and “sticking with it” in their conversations. You can encourage your child by using some of these words at home. You may have an opportunity to share your feelings with your child about Begin with the End in Mind.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 2!

 

 

Habit 3: Put First Things First. 

Put First Things First means to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or by the end of the week can be overwhelming, especially for children. Through practice, children can learn to think of which things are the most important and take care of them first.  This allows children (and adults) to be less stressed. For example, if children can tell you they need a piece of poster board on Thursday or cupcakes on Monday, everyone is able to better prepare. Put First Things First becomes an important skill as your child advances grade levels.

Books that reinforce Habit 3:

  •    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  •   The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone (or other versions)
  •   Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
  •   Pancakes for Breakfast by Eric Carle
  •   Chasing Vermeer  by Blue Balliett
  •   Esperanza Rising  by Pam Munoz Ryan

Encourage your child to use words and phrases like prioritize, most important, responsibility, put first things first, sequencing, and planning. You can join your child by using some of this language at home.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 3!

 

 

Habit 4: Think Win-Win.   

 Think Win-Win is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not you or me, it’s both of us.  It’s a belief that there are enough good things for everyone. It’s being able to be happy when good things happen to other people.  

To be able to Think Win-Win, it is important to be strong in Habits 1, 2, and 3. 

Habit 1: Be Proactive, Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, and Habit 3: Put FirstThings First give us the strong foundation to be leaders of ourselves and our choices.  

Habit 4: Think Win-Win is the first of the three habits that address relationships. They teach us how to better interact with others. 

Books that reinforce Habit 4:

  •    The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
  •    Rainbow Fish by Marcus Phister
  •    Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni
  •    Smoky Night by Eve Bunting 
  •    Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
  •    Hiawatha, Messenger of Peace by Dennis Brindell Fradin

Listen for your child to use words and phrases like think win-win, sharing, abundance, and being happy for others. You can encourage your child by using some of these words at home. Look for opportunities to share your feelings with your child about Think Win-Win.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 4!

 

 

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.   

 Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood means that it is better to listen first and to talk second. This habit is best approached by introducing listening as a skill, something that should be practiced. Simply put, we have two ears and one mouth and should use them accordingly.

Books that reinforce Habit 5:

  •    The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
  •    Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  •    The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  •    Marrying Malcolm Murgatroyd by Marne Farrell
  •    Rules by Cynthia Lord

 

Phrases we want to hear students using for this habit are listening first, listening with your ears, eyes, and heart, and seeking first to understand. You can encourage your child by using some of this language at home. Share your feelings with your child about Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 5!

 

Habit 6: Synergize. 

Habit 6, Synergize, is achieved when two or more people work together to create a better solution than either would have thought of alone. It’s not your way or my way, but a better way. 

Think of 1 + 1 = 3 (or more). 

How is that possible?  Well, 1 person + another person = 2 ideas + many, many more that neither of them would have thought of alone. 

 It’s taking good ideas and making them better by working together, looking for a third alternative. Synergy is a great tool for families. 

Books that reinforce Habit 6:

  •    Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
  •    Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  •    A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams
  •    Frederick by Leo Lionni
  •    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  •    Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by  Brandon Sanderson

Expect your child to use words and phrases like synergy, working together, 1 + 1 = 3 (or more), and “better idea than we could come up with alone” in their conversations. You can encourage your child by using some of these words at home. You may have an opportunity to share your feelings with your child about Synergize.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 6!

 

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.   

The story is that a man was sawing down a tree and not making much progress. When asked why he didn’t stop sawing to sharpen his saw, he answered that he was too busy sawing. 

Habit 7 reminds us that we are more productive when we are in balance; body, brain, heart, and soul. If one area is being ignored or overused, the rest will feel the results. A good analogy for children is a car needing all four tires; as leaders of themselves, they need to take care of all four parts of them.

Books that reinforce Habit 7:

  •    Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
  •    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  •    Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson
  •    Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo Ryan
  •    A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Expect your child to use words and phrases like Sharpen the Saw, 4 parts of myself; body, mind, heart, and soul, “it’s like 4 tires of a car”, taking care of myself, and balance. You can encourage your child by using some of these words at home. You may have an opportunity to share your feelings with your child about Sharpen the Saw.

Check out www.TheLeaderInMe.org. Here you will find activities for your child in “The Student Schoolyard”. In “The Parents’ Place” you will find fun ways to involve the entire family in Habit 7!