Welcome to our sixth summer book club meeting, a discussion of Raising Happiness prompted by Katy Keim of BookSnob.  We are posting Katy’s review of Raising Happiness chapter by chapter each Thursday. This book club first ran on Motherese, so you might want to check out the comments there, too, or Motherese blogger Kristen’s related posts.

Even if you aren’t reading along, we hope you’ll join the conversation.  What came to mind as you read the chapter being discussed, or Katy’s review?  You can subscribe to the comments thread for each posting and jump in.

Chapter 6: Practice, Practice, Practice.

By Katy Keim

Chapter 6 is where the rubber meets the road. If happiness can be learned, well, no surprise, it needs to be practiced. Carter starts to shift us to the driver’s seat in Chapter 6.

She tackles the issue of rewards with children. For the short-term, they are good for getting children to do unpleasant and boring tasks. But in the long-term, the only really lasting reward is intrinsic motivation.

So simply put, we need to reward our kids with the satisfaction and happiness they feel from changing a habit or doing something well. And, of course, that is easier said than done.

Carter makes this a little less daunting by breaking our new habits into big goals and little “turtle steps.” This section is worth a read and one that we tried when we were trying to get my daughter to sleep through the night more. (Yes, at 7, we have been having loads and loads of wake ups.) Our turtle steps were things like: No scary books before bed, at least 15 minutes of wind-down time before bed, and wearing pajamas that weren’t too hot.

Chapter 6 A-ha Moment: I have always heard that a good habit takes 21 days to form. Carter tells us we should expect more like 5-6 months to effectively change a habit. So I guess we all better get set our expectations correctly! It’s hard work to change a habit, and if you are interested in Carter’s worksheet to help you on your way, you can get it here.

Discussion questions:

▪ What A-ha moments, if any, did you have while reading Chapter 6?
▪ What’s the one habit or routine you would change in your family, and what is your first turtle step?

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