Last week I described my family’s experience when we ditched TV. Stephanie, a mom to two beautiful girls, left a very insightful comment that I felt warranted sharing. She speaks to the struggle we face in moving away from bad habits our families fall into and why it is so worth it to push through that struggle.
Here is an excerpt from Stephanie’s comment:
…she [my older daughter] used to watch TV as a baby…it’s an unfortunate and costly mistake that has taken a lot of patience and practice to break her of bad habits and get her more into learning as she started kindergarten this past year. She has truly come a long way and is reading beginner books all on her own now…In trying to correct the mistakes we made, she is truly starting to shine and is a little science experimenting and crafty little girl. We fill the time she used to spend watching TV or playing games on her computer or tablet with hands on activities. Overall her behavior and personality have started to shine. It’s something we have learned from and definitely won’t make the same mistakes with my other daughter who is now 7mo old.
Here are 5 critical steps Stephanie took to break a bad habit and move in a positive direction:
- Recognizing a problem
- TV had become too much of a focal point for her daughter, and Stephanie felt it was hindering her learning experience.
- Taking action
- Stephanie mentions in her comment that her family now has a 2-hour per day screen time rule (a guideline encouraged by many pediatricians).
- Replacing a bad habit with a good one
- Instead of simply turning off the technology and leaving her daughter to find something else to do, Stephanie and her husband are filling that time with activities that are encouraging learning and creativity in their daughter.
- Focusing on the benefits
- While Stephanie recognizes the struggle it has been to cut back on screen time, she knows the benefits are well worth the fight.
- Applying the lessons learned
- Stephanie states that she is taking what she has learned through this experience with her older daughter and is applying it to the choices she’s making with her younger daughter.
I admire this mom so much for her perseverance and devotion to creating positive habits for her family.
Over-consumption of technology is only one area where this this framework can be applied. Take some time to consider a habit you’d like to kick and how you can apply this 5-step framework.
Here’s one important thing to remember when changing habits: give yourself a lot of grace. You didn’t get where you are overnight. You didn’t choose this habit knowing then you’d feel the way you do about it now. You aren’t a bad person because you allowed a particular aspect of your life get out of hand.
Changing habits will be hard in the beginning. Keep this in mind: You’re human. You’re beautiful. You’re worth it.