The Parent Challenge

4 Easy habits to Maximize Your Family

Habit #1: DAILY

Eat Dinner Together

Improves Family Relationships

  • Increases family bonds
  • Helps the kids learn manners
  • Increases nutrition vs snacks and processed foods
  • Studies have shown that more family mealtimes each week are associated with better grades in school
  • Kids who eat with their family exhibit greater social skills elsewhere
  • Encourages conversation in a safe and loving environment
  • Bless the food out loud before eating. (Ask for volunteer to pray)
  • No electronics use (TV, cell phones, Ipads)
  • No books
  • Model whatever behavior and language you want your kids to have. What you do is far more influential than anything you tell them to do.

It’s better to ask open ended questions that don’t produce one word answers.

One great conversation starter is to ask the highs, lows and interesting events of the day.

Click here for How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk

Habit #2: WEEKLY

Review and Reward Good Habits

Improves Good Habits

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.” – Aristotle

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  • Improves discipline.
  • Gives accountability partner.
  • Tracking improves performance. You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
  • Makes kids more responsible and less entitled or spoiled.
  • It’s more effective to build good habits while the brain is still forming.
  • Helps the house chores get done without constant monitoring or nagging.
  • Positively reinforces good behavior with rewarding instead of punishing.
  • If it fits your family culture, it’s better to replace allowance with rewards for doing positive habits. This increases the likelihood of the kids doing it.
  • Pick a specific threshold that gets rewarded. (E.g. 80% of tasks completed for the week, no more than one missed day for any task, etc.)
  • Include habits that strengthen body, mind and spirit to encourage balance.
  • Use one of the resources listed for visibility to track habits completed. You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
  • To give life wisdom not given in school, assign books or audio books (or summaries) listed in the resources tab in addition to those you recommend. Choose the books according to the area your child is most interested in, is struggling with or wants to improve most in.
  • Include books that help prepare kids for their career (best intersection of interests, talents and opportunities)
  • “Don’t give your children everything you wish you had. Teach them everything you wish you knew.”

Habit #3: MONTHLY

Family Meeting

Improves Unity

  • Improves communication which is a top reason for divorce and family issues.
  • Provides a constructive format for effective communication without fighting.
  • Allows you to use the family as a brain trust to solve problems.
  • Updates everyone in the family on things they might need to know.
  • People of all ages accept decisions more if they are involved in the process.
  • The meeting should be scheduled on a set day each month and put on everyone’s  calendar. (e.g., the 1st Sunday of each month at 7pm). If that day has to be missed for an important reason, the first available day possible should be substituted. The meeting should also be rescheduled if multiple people can’t attend.
  • If your family is having major issues then you may need to have the meeting more frequently than once a month (once a week or twice a month).
  • Turn your cell phones on silent and minimize all other distractions.
  • Keep the conversation friendly, practicing Active Listening. Don’t curse, don’t interrupt, don’t blame the other person, keep your voice volume and tone calm and only state the way actions make you feel.
  • Follow the other rules at the top of the Meeting Format Form.

Habit #4: YEARLY

Family Trip

Improves positive memories

  • Encourages family bonding.
  • Exposes kids to new places and cultures.
  • Helps keep the spark of life allowing a break from daily mundane tasks.
  • Gives everyone something to look forward to.
  • Reduces stress from work, school and chores.
  • Proves your priorities. Taking the time away from everything and everyone else shows how much you value the family.
  • Allows opportunities to teach adaptability and other life lessons.
  • Creates lifelong memories.
  • Must be at least 3 full days
  • Must be outside of the city you live in
  • Must limit work to emergencies only while away
  • Do not talk about problems; use the monthly meetings to deal with those. This is the time to LIVE IT UP with your family.

Are You Ready for the Challenge?

We challenge you and your family to try The Parent Challenge for 1 month.  If your home feels happier and closer at the end of the first month, we challenge you to make this a way of life.