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Habits for Happy Kids
By: Third Grade Teachers Lynn Frankenberger and Kristie Kerber
Begin With the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Sharpen the Saw
Welcome to the world of “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.” The 7 Habits are leadership qualities introduced in Sean Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. These highly effective habits teach students to enter the 21st century with confidence, character and leadership skills. Along with preparing our students for a life of contribution and service, these habits have been known to improve academic achievements. One of the benefits of teaching our students these principles is that it gives children a common language to use at school. We have heard our students say, “I was being proactive this weekend by completing all of my Wordly Wise exercises early because I have a busy schedule this week.”
Third graders were introduced to these 7 Habits this year. Since the beginning of the year, we have seen a positive outcome with our students feeling empowered to take responsibility for their actions and for themselves. As both teachers and parents, we feel strongly about the effectiveness of this program. By May, they will have learned all the principles necessary for being successful citizens in this ever-changing world.
Below are the 7 Habits and Covey’s explanation of each.
- Be Proactive
*I’m a responsible person
*I take initiatives
*I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods
*I don’t blame others for my faults
*I do good things, even when no one is around
- Begin With the End in Mind
*I plan ahead and set goals
*I do things that have meaning
*I’m an important part of my class
*I figure out what I want to be
*I learn from inspiring people
- Put First Things First
*I make my schedule
*I spend my time on important things
*I study first, then play
*I’m disciplined and organized
*I’m aware of the time
- Think Win-Win
*I try to make everyone happy, including me
*I seek for a fair solution
*I view life not as a competition
*I have respect for everybody
*I’m not a selfish person
- Think first to Understand, Then to Be Understood
*I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings
*I listen with my eyes, ears, and heart
*I try understanding things from other people’s view
*I don’t interrupt whenever someone is talking
*I’m confident voicing my ideas
*I value other people’s differences
*Being unique is cool
*I ask for other people’s ideas
*I’m a good team player
*I can cooperate with anyone
- Sharpen the Saw
*I exercise regularly and eat healthy foods
*I can learn new things everywhere
*I spend time with my families and friends
*I keep my body, mind heart, and soul balanced
Habits 1, 2 and 3 teach your child to be more responsible and independent. When introducing these habits, several kids mentioned how the first thing they do when they get home from school is to complete their homework. This works for them because they now have the rest of the night to play. In third grade, the students are given B.E.A.R.S. binders (Being Equipped and Responsible Students). In these binders, they keep their assignment notebooks and several plastic sleeves to hold important papers such as homework, behavior sheets, calendars and study guides. This helps them to stay organized and encourages responsibility. Habits 4, 5 and 6 focus on teamwork. In our classroom, the third graders are encouraged to work out win-win solutions on their own and are praised when they do. We stress the importance of listening to each other with our ears, our eyes and our heart. Habit 7 helps the students to understand that happiness is not from awards, wealth or fame but rather from taking care of your body and mind. For example, eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep.
Every morning, we make a promise to one another by reciting our Third Grade Promise.
I promise today to be my best for me and you.
I will follow all the student procedures too.
I am here to learn, achieve, and share
Be respectful, trustworthy, and care.
I promise to discover and explore,
By looking beyond to accomplish more.
Let's all work together as a team to show
Go, third graders, go!
For more information and ideas on how you as parents can implement these principles with your children visit www.TheLeaderInMe.org.
“We only get one chance to prepare children for a world none of us can possibly predict, what are we going to do with that one chance?” —Murial Summers, TheLeaderInMe.org