Charlotte Mason had much to say on habit training. But… she didn’t have her own children?? So… what did she know about parenting? Actually… She had some excellent thoughts on parenting and habit training.
Not just ideas that may possibly work, but ideas that you can apply and see results!
I recommend that ALL parents read Charlotte Mason’s 6 volumes, and also For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. ( You can find those here.)
Charlotte Mason On Habit Training
Most of everything we do is by habit! Waking up at a certain time, brushing our teeth, eating breakfast, getting dressed (or staying in our pajamas), etc. Habits rule most of what we do… even though we don’t always recognize them as habits.
Whether habits are planned and created conscientiously, or allowed to be haphazardly filled in by chance, they are habits all the same. Habit rules ninety-nine percent of everything we do.Charlotte Mason
Taking the time to habit train
First things first… good habits do not come overnight. We can’t expect our children to just develop all their good habits on their own.
The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.Charlotte Mason
What did she mean by this?
I believe Charlotte Mason meant that the mother who takes time to work on habit training with her kids will save herself a lot of pain and heartache when it comes to raising her children.
In the hands of the mother, is as his wheel to the potter, his knife to the carver—the instrument by means of which she turns out the design she has already conceived in her brain.Charlotte Mason
Habit Training: Actively and Passively
Every single day we are instilling habits in our children. Whether we realize it or not. Actively or Passively.
Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.Charlotte Mason
Actively Instilling Habits
Actively instilling habits is when you are purposely teaching your child how to behave.
For example, when a child wants to play outside, but they haven’t finished their chores. We tell them: “Do your chores first… then you can play outside.”
This is actively teaching responsibility.
Passively Instilling Habits
Children learn by example. They are constantly watching us and what we do. They are very impressionable!
If we leave the table without cleaning up our dish, the child will follow. However, if we show them by our actions they are more likely to pick up the same habits.
Habit Training Takes Time and Attention
It takes time to build habits. After the good habits are in place… we have to make sure they stick!
It takes a few weeks of work to build a new habit. Once the habit is in place, it must be guarded diligently to prevent a reversion to the old ways, but keeping watch is not stressful or difficult once the new habit is secure.Charlotte Mason
What does she mean by this
Children can still revert back to their old ways after a good habit seems to have taken place of a not so good one.
If we let them slide, then we are promoting the return of old habits.
Peter wants to get up and go directly to watch his favorite TV show in the morning. He decides that just this time maybe he won’t have to do his morning chores first.
“Mom, can I watch it just this once before my chores are done?”
“Sure… why not! It’s only once.”
The next day he does the same, and before long he’s out of the habit of chores before watching TV.
I’ve been there!!!!
You keep giving in because it’s summer break or Christmas break… and before long you are having to go back to phase one to instill that habit again.
Habit Training in the Long Run
Habit Training is not always easy. It can be a long and sometimes difficult process.
During the early years children tend to be really resistant. But, starting as early as possible is important!
I had one child (my oldest) who was very trying as a toddler/preschooler. I spent every day trying to instill good habits, and I felt like I was getting nowhere!
He was a very strong-willed child. My husband and I had to be really persistent with everything.
But now he is a preteen and I feel like our hard work and diligence has paid off. He is a great kid.
This isn’t an attempt to brag on me or my husband. Just a way to encourage you by saying that it does get better! And persistence really pays off!
Habit Training Resources
First and foremost the Bible is the place to look! There are many lessons to learn in habit training from God’s word and prayer.
Now… here are a few other resources.>>>
The following links are affiliate links. This means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!
Habits (A collection of Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on Habit Training in one book.)
Laying down the Rails : A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook