breaking habits

Top 10 Habits to Break as a Family

If you have had multiple kids in diapers at the same time, you know that it’s survival mode time. A friend of mine was telling me that when his kids were that age, he and his wife would be so tired they would want to lay down to watch their favorite TV shows at the end of the day. The problem was that they liked different shows. So they agreed to watch in separate rooms. It wasn’t bad once in a while, but it formed a habit, even after their kids were older. Eventually, their marriage reached a difficult place. Breaking habits like that was the beginning of restoration.

There are lots of not-so-great choices families make once in a while with no major consequences. But when those choices become habits, you’ve got a problem. Such is the case with most of these 10 negative habits to kick. If you see them making regular appearances in your family’s life, act fast to correct them. Here are 10 family habits to break.

1. Fast food

The nutrition you get for the calories, sodium, and fat grams you consume is a bad deal. If you find yourself feeding your family from a paper bag with grease stains every few days (or more), it’s time to cut back.

2. Bickering

Some families, especially those with teenagers, find themselves in tense, argumentative conversations over and over all day long. But it doesn’t have to be that way nor should it be. Make a conscious effort to curb the sarcastic or argumentative comments you make as a parent, and demand that your children speak to one another with love and respect, too.

3. Disorganization

For a busy family, organization is a must. [Tweet This] It starts with keeping a great calendar of everyone’s activities and should trickle down to kids keeping their own work and assignments in order.

4. Wasteful spending

Making everyone aware of how little expenses add up can turn the family budget around substantially. Help your kids break habits like buying bottled water or soda when they’re out and about and bring a reusable water bottle instead. Eat at home more and dine out less (see #1). Teach your kids to take care of expensive sports equipment and school shoes so they don’t have to be replaced as often. It all adds up quickly. If you need financial advice, our friends at brightpeak financial can offer help.

5. Overscheduling

An overscheduled family is a stressed-out family where survival, not intentional living, becomes the rule of the day. Choose carefully and wisely in terms of which commitments you make or allow your kids to make. You may find that your family gets greater joy out of doing fewer things with less pressure.

6. Failing to eat together

Busy families often find that the family dinner table is the big loser when we get caught up in the rat race. But it’s worth it to schedule 3-4 (or more) true family dinners each week where every member of the family is required to be around the table to spend time together and eat well. Statistics show that families who do this have happier, healthier kids and parents.

7. Screen time overload

If you or your kids are spending more than an hour or so a day in front of a screen (TV, computer, video game, etc.), you’re probably spending too much. Families who have major electronic addictions have higher rates of obesity and other health problems. Plus they’re missing out on countless other worthwhile things like reading, outdoor play, games together, and great communication about things that truly matter.

8. Skipping church

Make worship and family church activities a priority. This will pay greater dividends in the life of your family than anything else you can do. It will establish a good habit that will be important to their own spiritual growth and health long after they leave your care.

9. Hiring help for all the tough chores

For busy suburban families, there’s a great temptation to simplify things by hiring help for all major tasks: housecleaning, yard work, etc. But if your kids never have to pitch in to get these everyday jobs done, how will they ever know how to do them well or appreciate what goes into them? Do your kids a favor by reserving some key jobs for them that help them develop a work ethic and sense of responsibility. This can also be a great relief to your budget.

10. Comparing

Doing so can create a host of other problems. For starters, you don’t know if the family you’re comparing yourselves to share your values and priorities, practical limitations, or budget. For those reasons, it makes more sense to set your own pace for life by intentionally choosing what’s best for you and your family and not worrying too much about everyone else.

Sound Off

What are some bad habits that your family has fallen into?

  • Chris Hall

    I’m a huge fan of All Pro Dad and I love these lists. However, I take exception to a few items from today’s list and wanted to show a different point of view. I’ll be honest. This list looks like it’s been recycled and someone just “mailed it in.” I’m not saying it doesn’t have value. It totally does, but there’s not a lot of depth to it and it doesn’t look very current.
    First, let’s talk about “the 1 hour rule” with screen time. That rule has been around since the 1970’s and I don’t think science would support it anymore. It’s true that our kids are becoming more obese and need more exercise. but look no further than #1 on your list. But I would say that it’s not the screen time as much as it’s the constant load of high fructose corn syrup and meat that’s been bathed in amonia.
    We live in a technology world today. Everything is done on the screen. Legos is now Minecraft. Hanging out with your friends on the corner is now a lot safer with Skype. Listening to music on the radio is now YouTube. Reading is done on kindles, tablets, and desktops. To deny kids the computer is to handicap them for the future. Now, if you’re talking about 6 hours a day of Call of Duty, we’re on the same page. But you mentioned any screen time and that’s just not responsible in this day and age.

    I also think there are alternatives to #8. Skipping Church. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. For me and my family, we will serve the Lord. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to the consumable “product” that American churches have become. There are many alternatives to going to church that can teach your kids about God and worship, prayer and devotions. You don’t need a pastor at the front of the room telling you what to do. You can have a personal relationship with God and you don’t even have to leave your house. Try reading the Jesus Calling books by Sarah Young or anything by Rob Bell. They are great devotionals and great teaching tools. And you can try listening to Air1 or K-Love strictly for worship purposes. Anything from Chris Tomlin or Matthew West will stir your heart. If church works for you, then that’s awesome. More power to you. But it doesn’t work for everyone and I just didn’t like the idea of Christians feeling guilty because they don’t put on their Sunday best.
    Thanks for all you do. Thanks for allowing me to help explore your list a little more in depth.
    God Bless,

    • James D. Chamberlain

      Church is important. Going to church is important. Going to church with family is important.

    • C V

      All good comments except Skype and social media (or antisocial media) shouldnt replace human interaction. While our electronic devices were made to make our lives simpler and easier to communicate, they do more to separate us. We need to recongnize that when it becomes easier to email someone than to walk over and talk to them, its a problem. We need to unplug.
      Church is related. We are not designed to be separate, we are designed to be in communion with one another and with God. God wants us to come together and be the body, his hands and feet. We can do that at home individually but we can do it better when we love and serve others.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some bad habits we should stop doing as a family?”

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