Creating Powerful Habits, part 2

Knowing we have a responsibility to help our kids develop good habits begs the question, which good habits?

The list of habits we can instill runs the gamut from regular toothbrushing to standing to the side when the elevator first opens. It is impossible for us to foster all good habits so we much choose the most effective ones that will have the greatest impact.

According to Paul O’Neill of Alcoa and others in Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, in businesses there are certain keystone habits that can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits can work the same in individuals. So which habits are keystone habits?

Keystone habits that research has shown trigger other good habits include:

  • regular exercise
  • eating dinner together as a family
  • making your bed every morning
  • eating breakfast

The above master habits can help people eat better, become more productive, show more patience, use credit cards less frequently, feel less stressed, have greater emotional control, and more confidence.

I’m betting to the above list we can add a few more such as:

  • wearing sunscreen daily
  • a behavioral pattern for handling and working through frustration and problem solving
  • looking people in eye when talking to them
  • maintaining an organized work area
  • a habitual system for working on and tracking long-term projects as daily or weekly activities

What other important habits should we help our kids develop and how can we do so?



Science Museum Mississippi Class

SMM Conservation Ideas
Conservation Ideas

Nathaniel recently check out one of the classes offered at the Science Museum of Minnesota for homeschoolers. It was on the Mighty Mississippi. He learned about the Mississippi and factors that affect the health of the river. Together the students built a model aquatic habitat. Then they brainstormed on what can be done to help the environment and slow global warming. My favorite ideas are algae art that can also clean the house and self-powered, bioluminescent lights.

The Mississippi supports a vast variety of species. In order to demonstrate this and emphasize the interrelatedness of different species, they created a food web.

Finally they were able to observe live macro invertebrates.

Food Web

The class was paced nicely and gave the students time to ask questions and show their knowledge without the instructor worrying about lost time. Nathaniel came away from the experience feeling that he had a real opportunity to delve into biology and environmental conservation. Biology is one of his passions and he has been reading complex biology books for years. I am impressed that the Science Museum was able to design a class that worked for a student his age with his higher than average scientific background.