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