Little Leaders

Leadership lives in us all, foster it and watch it flourish.

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

The 7 Habits were designed to help all students discover their own leadership potential.  Read below for more information on the 7 Habits and the Leader in Me program by Sean Covey:

HABIT 1: Be Proactive means to take responsibility for your choices and behaviors. Habit one is the key to all other habits; Be Proactive says, “I am in charge of my own life. I am responsible for whether I am happy or sad. I can choose how to react to other people or situations.

Family activities:  Role play the following situations with your child

  • (Play the part of your child’s friend)  Say that you have a new best friend who lives close to your house and you don’t want to play with him or her anymore.  Apologize then wait for your child’s reaction.
  • (Play the part of your child’s sibling)  Tell you child that you broke his or her favorite toy by accident.  Tell him or her that you don’t think it’s a very big deal because he or she has many toys.
  • (Play the part of the child and have your child play the part of you) Tell your child that you are “sooooo bored” and there is nothing fun to do.  Complain that no one wants to play and that he or she needs to amuse you.  

HABIT 2:  Begin With the End in Mind means to think about how you would like something to turn out before you get started.  Have a plan.

Family activities:  Create a family mission statement

  1. Get started on your family constitution by discussing the following questions with your family:
    • What does your family want to be known for?
    • How do we treat each other?
    • What big goals do we want to achieve?
    • What unique talents and skills do we have?
  2. Brainstorm ideas, words and phrases to include in the mission statement.  Remember no idea is a bad idea.
  3. Begin crafting your statement, but remember, it doesn’t have to be finished in one sitting.  
  4. Post the statement prominently in home and encourage the entire family to consider it when making decisions or having disputes.

HABIT 3:  Put First Things First means to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Learning to think of which things are the most important and taking care of them first allows children (and adults) to be less stressed. By writing down his or her respon- sibilities and planning ahead, last-minute trips to the store, missed events, or missed homework are avoided.

Family Activities:  Model

  • Create a list of things your child needs to accomplish throughout a week.  With your child, rank the tasks in importance.  Then rewrite the list in order of importance.  Use a planner or calendar to schedule time so that the important things are done first.
  • Role play with your child about the consequences of forgetting to study for a math test.  How will your child feel?  What are the consequences?  Then role-play how it will feel to be well prepared and get a great math score!
  • Encourage your child to design or decorate this/her own planner or weekly activity log.

HABIT 4: Think Win-Win is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not me or you—it is both of us. It is a belief that there are enough good things for everyone. As a parent, not everything is negotiable, but if you go into discus- sions with your child with a win-win mindset, you’ll find a lot less resistance.

Family Activities:

  • Play a game with your child that has a definite winner.  Explain how competition is okay when you play a game, but it is not okay in relationships.  Discuss how tense it would be in your home if every situation had to have a winner.  A better way to think is win-win.  This means we think of solutions that we can all feel good about when there is a problem.  The more we Think Win-Win, the fewer problems there will be.  You may want to display a chart listing the days of the week.  When someone “caught” thinking win-win, he or she gets to write his or her name on the chart for that day.
  • Encourage win-win solutions to sibling disputes.  Don’t always be the mediator; let them work out a solution and be sure to be lavish children with praise when they do.

HABIT 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood means that it is better to listen first and talk second. By taking the time to listen to another person, you reach a higher level of communication. Learning to listen without interrupting and learning to listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart will help children build a foundation for Habit 5.

Family Activities:  

  • To better understand how listening can help or hurt a relationship, try “pretend listening” with your child for a few minutes.  Your child will be frustrated.  Explain what you were doing and discuss how your child felt.  Now have your child ignore you when you are talking.  Discuss how it makes you feel when you are ignored.  Finish the discussion by thinking of ways to let the other person know what you feel you are not being truly listened to.  Remind your child that this is also an example of Think Win-Win.
  • Body language can be even more important than words.  play a game with your kids where you each try to guess the other’s emotion without using words just body language.
  • Demonstrate how saying the same phrase in a different tone of voice can give the phrase a completely different meaning.  Try emphasizing different words in the phrase “I didn’t say you did it” and then have your child tell you how the meaning changed.

HABIT 6: Synergize is when two or more people work to- gether to create a better solution that either would have thought of alone. It’s  not your way or my way, but a better way.

Family Activities:

  • With your children, choose a problem you may have.  Use a Synergy Action Plan to summarize your child’s solution and your solution:  STAR S-State the problem, T-Think about ways to solve the problem, A-Apply the best solution together, R-Reflect on how it all went.  See if you can reach a better solution (the High Way) than either of you would have come up with alone.
  • Institute a “15-minute program” where everyone drops why they are doing and pitches in to work as a team to clean the kitchen, pull weeds int he garden, wash the dishes, sweep, etc.  Cutting out a small block of time where everyone helps make the work go quicker.
  • If your child has siblings, ask each to identify what they think their brother or sister is really good at, then share the lists with each other and discuss how they could Synergize on homework, chores, playing games, etc.  If your child does not have siblings, you can do the same exercise using his or her best friends- or you. 

HABIT 7:  Sharpen the Saw means to have balance in your life. Explain the four parts of each person (body, brain, heart, and soul) and how important it is to take care of each part to make them all work better.

Family Activities:  

  • Develop a Sharpen the Saw activity center in your home, include arts and crafts supplies, learning games, puzzles, classical music, books, etc.
  • Discuss various ways to Sharpen the Saw in all areas.  Ideas might include: Body (playing outside, riding your bike), Brain (balancing reading with TV watching or making smarter choices about what you watch), heart (making a list of what makes you happy and doing something on the list every day, spending time with special friends and family), and soul (attending religious services, starting a journal).

You are your child’s first and best teacher. You lay the foundation for the education of your child’s mind, heart, body, and spirit. You can help your son or daughter discover the leader within and prepare for a great life of contribution and service.

By reinforcing these 7 Habits at home, you will be supporting your child’s future success for years to come.

Here are a few tips to ensure your success:

1.You are so busy! So the first tip is to look for ways to work the principles of these Habits into what you are already doing. Think of it not as one more thing to do, but as a better way of doing what you are already doing.

2. Are there things you are doing now that you could replace with more important activities? TV watching is the first thing that comes to mind, but there may be others. TV is not all bad, but too much can be a waste of time.

3. Read together:

Primary Grades

Habit 1 – Be Proactive

  • Amazing Grace by:  Mary Hoffman
  • The Little Engine that Could by:  Watty Piper
  • King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by:  Audrey Wood
  • The Very Lonely Firefly by:  Eric Carle
  • The Carrot Seed by:  Ruth Krauss

Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind

  • The Very Busy Spider by:  Eric Carle
  • Whistle for Willie by:  Ezra Jack Keats
  • Click, Clack, Cows that Moo by:  Doreen Cronin
  • Pancakes, Pancakes by:  Eric Carle
  • Galimoto by:  Karen Lynn Williams

Habit 3 – Put First Things First

  • Froggy Gets Dressed by:  Jonathan London
  • The Little Red Hen by:  Paul Galdone
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by:  Eric Carle
  • Alejandro’s Gift by:  Richard E. Albert
  • Jamaica’s Find by:  Juanita Havill

Habit 4 – Think Win-Win

  • Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by:  Leo Lionni
  • The Rainbow Fish by:  Marcus Pfister
  • The Doorbell Rang by:  Pat Hutchins
  • The Very Clumsy Click Beetle by:  Eric Carle
  • Let’s Be Enemies by:  Janice May Udry

Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

  • Stellaluna by:  Janell Cannon
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by:  Jon Scieszka
  • The Runaway Bunny by:  Margaret Wise Brown
  • Are You My Mother? by:  P.D. Eastman
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? by:  Deborah Guarino

Habit 6 – Synergize

  • Ox-Cart Man by:  Donald Hall
  • Swimmy by:  Leo Lionni
  • A Chair for My Mother by:  Vera B. Williams
  • Clifford’s Spring Clean-Up by:  Norman Bridwell
  • How the 2nd Grade Got $8205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty by:  Nathan Zimelman

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw

  • Owl Moon by:  Jane Yolen
  • The Snowy Day by:  Ezra Jack Keats
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by:  Mo Willems
  • Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by:  D.B. Johnson
  • Me I Am! by:  Jack Prelutsky

Intermediate Grades

 Habit 1 – Be Proactive

  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by:  Bruce Coville
  • On My Honor by:  Marion Bauer
  • Someday a Tree by:  Eve Bunting
  • Salt in His Shoes, Michael Jordan:  In Pursuit of a Dream by:  Deloris Jordan
  • The Real McCoy: The Life of an African-American Inventor by:  Wendy Towle

Habit 2 – Being with the End in Mind

  • Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? by:  Jean Fritz
  • Lucy Mastermind by:  Alan Feldman
  • Eddie, the Incorporated by:  Phyllis Naylor
  • Bobby Baseball by:  Robert Kimmel Smith
  • The School Story by:  Andrew Clements

Habit 3 – Put First Things First

  • The Week Mom Unplugged the TV’s by:  Terry Wolfe Phelan
  • Irving Black’s Strange Snack by:  Roz Rosenbluth
  • Esperanza Rising by:  Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The TV Kid by:  Betsy Byars
  • Justin & the Best Buscuits in the World by:  Mildred Pitts Walter

Habit 4 – Think Win-Win

  • The Butter Battle Book by:  Dr. Seuss
  • Dragon Stew by:  Tom McGowen
  • Law of the Great Peace by:  John Bierhart
  • The Checker Players by:  Alan Venable
  • Hiawatha, Messenger of Peace by:  Dennis Brindell Fradin

Habit 5- Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

  • Marrying Malcolm Murgatroyd by:  Mame Farrell
  • Witch of Blackbird Pond by:  Elizabeth George Speare
  • Rules by:  Cynthia Lord
  • Veronica Knows Best by:  Nancy Robinson
  • The Bully of Barham Street by:  Leonard Shortall

Habit 6 – Synergize

  • The View from Saturday by:  E.L. Konigsburg
  • A Wrinkle in Time by:  Madeline L’Engle
  • Ruby Holler by:  Sharon Creech
  • The Chalk Box Kid by:  Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Chicken Sunday by:  Patricia Polacco

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw

  • The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by:  Chris Van Allsburg
  • Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by:  DyAnne DiSalvo Ryan
  • The New Kid on the Block by:  Jack Prelutsky
  • A Light in the Attic by:  Shel Silverstein
  • Wind in the Long Grass: A Collection of Haiku edited by:  William Higginson