We have them: late night snacking, chewing the inside of a cheek, tapping a foot, heck. Those small bad habits. Not like smoking or other really bad habits, these little annoyances that we get into for whatever reason. Our kids have them too: nose picking, thumb sucking, nail-biting and so on. Again, nothing that puts their health at risk, but still, we can help them try to break the habits.
Usually, those habits are a coping mechanism - to soothe, to calm themselves. Maybe when she is a little anxious about a situation, your daughter twirls her hair. Possibly when your son is nervous or bored, he bites his nails. Whatever it is and for whatever reason, it is important that you talk with your kids about what may be bothering them.
And when you do see them popping that thumb in while riding in the car or picking a nose as you wait in line at the mall, watch how you tell them to stop. Again, sometimes this is a soothing habit, so if they feel sad if you punish them with words or a tone, they will just want to do it more. Make them aware, but don't punish them. The main thing is be consistent - as we talk this week, if you do some sort of reward or progress chart, keep it going and be on top of it.
Remember, some experts say it takes about a month of repeated behavior to break a habit or start up a new, good one, so be ready to stay at it for a while. If you are also moving or about to have a new baby or trying to potty train, it may not be the right time to tackle it.
What bad habits do you -- or your kids -- have?