Top 20 Habits to Teach Your Preschooler (3–5 year olds)

Good habits go a long way in character-formation. Therefore, it is essential to teach your child good habits early on. Here are top 20 habits for your little one.

By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj

Top 20 Habits to Teach Your Preschooler (3–5 year olds)

While most parents may focus on their children’s health and education right from the preschool stage, when it comes to the formation of good habits, they tend to be a little slack and postpone it for much later. But, parents should realise that it is essential to help children form good habits right from the time they are two or three years old. Here are the top 20 habits parents need to focus on:

  1. Reading – This habit opens up the gateways of knowledge to your child apart from serving as a healthy pastime. Let your child realise that books can be her best companions.
  2. Playing outdoors – Rather than being a couch potato, encourage your little one to spend time in outdoor play. This will not only ensure physical fitness for him but also help develop his cognitive abilities.
  3. Saving money – Get your child a piggy bank and teach her to start saving. Make her realise its importance. Let her watch her bank grow over a period.
  4. Conserving resources – Whether it is water or electricity, let your child learn to save these precious resources. Make him understand that both natural and manmade resources need to be saved.
  5. Limiting screen time – This is a valuable habit your child needs to learn early on. With the present generation of children growing up on gadgets, it is very difficult to wean them away from technology once they get hooked to it. Therefore, minimise the time your child spends before screens.
  6. Being organised – Let your child learn to put back toys and books in their respective places once she is through with them. Teach her to keep her things in an orderly manner. Most of our time gets lost in searching for something or the other. Being organised will ensure your child does not have to waste her time in this manner.
  7. Adhering to a routine – Sticking to a set routine goes a long way in making your child disciplined. Help him to ease into a routine right from his early days.
  8. Adopting a friendly attitude – Encourage your child to socialise with those around her and make friends among her peers. Forming friendships and maintaining them is an essential habit she will require for life.
  9. Following a healthy lifestyle – Good eating habits, sleeping habits, physical exercise – all these contribute to your child’s health. Let him adapt a lifestyle that will ensure he stays healthy.
  10. Maintaining cleanliness – Guide your child to keep her room clean always. Teach her not to litter. Being neat, tidy and orderly will de-clutter her mind and help her stay calm and focussed. Let her also extend this cleanliness to her neighbourhood. Teach her to dispose of waste only in garbage bins in public places.
  11. Possessing good personal hygiene – Brushing the teeth, bathing, washing the hands before and after eating, not picking the nose, closing the mouth while sneezing or coughing, washing the face, hands and feet immediately after entering the house – these are some of the points you should include when you train your child on hygiene. Good hygiene contributes to good health. Make your child realise this.
  12. Confiding in you – Tell your child to speak freely to you on anything and everything. Let her share with you all that happened during the day. Encourage her to confide in you when something bothers her. This will, especially, prove helpful when it comes to issues such as bullying or sexual abuse.
  13. Working hard – Teach your little one to be as busy as the bee. Let her learn the importance of hard work. Make her understand that a laid-back or lackadaisical attitude towards work will get her nowhere.
  14. Exhibiting good manners – ‘Please’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank you’ – teach your child to use these words whenever required. Let her never hesitate to do so. Also, impart lessons on table manners, conversational etiquette, behaviour in public and so on to her quite early in life.
  15. Sharing – Today’s materialistic world makes children selfish. Let your little one learn the habit of sharing what she has with others. This will make her become conscious to the needs of others.
  16. Extending courtesy – Explain to your child the importance of being kind and courteous. This habit will ensure she enjoys a good relationship with her peers.
  17. Showing respect – Lessons on respect should begin quite early. Make your child understand that she needs to respect elders. Also, let her understand that she has to treat everyone with dignity.
  18. Being honest – Let your child form the habit of saying the truth always. Correct her if she resorts to lying.
  19. Helping others – Let your little one understand that as human beings we need to help those in need, especially the less privileged and downtrodden. Whether it is visits to old age homes and orphanages or extending a helping hand to an elderly person to cross the road, make your child realise that it is our duty to help others.
  20. Having patience – Being patient will mould your child’s character into a well-rounded personality. Teach her to wait for her turn in queues and not to lose her temper easily.

You may teach these habits to your child through stories, role-plays or songs. But, the best way to teach them will be by practising them yourself. Remember the adage, ‘Practise what you preach’. 

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