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The 7 Habits of Happy Kids: A Book Review

Updated on February 2, 2011

The library is one of our favorite places to visit. Every couple of weeks my husband or I take the boys to browse for an hour or two. I love to see what the boys pick out to bring home. This last week, Aragorn, my five year old, brought home "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids."

I know that he thought it looked like a fun collection of stories to read; stories about bears, squirrels and rabbits. So naturally, he was surprised when I announced that, "No," I would not read it right away. 

"The 7 Habits of Happy Kids" would become part of our school curriculum for the next two weeks. He looked at me in awe and wonder, while the older twerps eyed me suspiciously.

What could be in that book?

While waiting for Monday, I found a notebook for each boy to use, and decorating supplies, for personalization.

Are you ready for a sneak peak?

What's Inside

The Story Titles are:

  • Bored! Bored! Bored!
  • Good and the Bug-Collecting Kit
  • Pokey and the Spelling Test
  • Lily Plants a Garden
  • Jumper and the Lost Butterfly Net
  • The Big Bad Badgers
  • Sleepy Sophie

Plus it has Parent/Teacher notes and suggestions.  These tips and tidbits tell how to effectively use the book and give suggestions for kids to act on, helping them to implement what was learned in each story.

Bored! Bored! Bored!

The first title perturbed me! How dare an author of 'Happiness' consider such a statement to be worth any one's time?

"I'm bored!"

This is not an acceptable statement at my house. In fact, making such a foolish statement is a sure way to spend the next hour or two doing chores. I have always figured a child who wines, hoping to get TV privileges or some other form of entertainment needs dire repercussions. It is no one's job to entertain them. They must interested in something, and proactively seek after it! They must educate themselves in the areas of their interests.

Imagine my surprise, when that was the point of the story:

1.  Be Proactive

But, there was more to the story than just being proactive, it had elements of taking responsibility for your life, happiness and entertainment. Blaming no one for your unhappiness and boredom.

In Action

After reviewing this section, I asked each boy to write down one thing that they would really like to do, and then make plans to do it.

James has wanted to have a lemonade stand for several months now, so he worked hard on making a detailed list of everything he would need.

  • Lemonade
  • Cups
  • Napkins
  • Coolers
  • Table
  • Money Box...

The next day, when we were in the grocery store, he saw lemonade on sale. He had hoped for such, and due to planning ahead, had brought his own money to purchase some with. He bought two containers.

Once we got home, he wrote his name on the lemonade containers, and the price he had paid for them, so he could keep track of expenses and profits!

He has since added cups of two different sizes and napkins to his investment inventory.  He has located coolers that he can barrow and a display table. 

Goob and the Bug-Collecting Kit

'Goob' a name very near to dear Aragorn's nick name, and bug-collecting is a hobby shared by all of my boys -- this would be a winner, regardless of the point, but the point proves to be a much needed lesson:

2. Begin with the End in Mind

This is a concept I have been trying to instill in the boys mind for sometime. There are many instances where it applies, such as crafting. A typical conversation goes something like this:

Boy: "Mom, I'm going to do an art project!"

Mom: "What are you going to make?"

Boy: "Oh, I don't know. We'll see."

The results? A pile of scraps, glued together, that need to be thrown away. They had fun for a moment, but then are discouraged, because they have nothing to show for it.

So, back to the book, the story contrasts two characters, one who has a plan, and accomplishes it, and another who lives for the moment and has nothing to show for it. It shows how planning ahead allows you to have more in the end, and be able to share.

"A goal not written is a wish"

A picture taken by one of the boys, during school.
A picture taken by one of the boys, during school.

Pokey and the Spelling Test

Spelling tests? Eww! I hated spelling, and avoided it anyway possible (thank God for spell check and the ability to learn as an adult). I suppose I am not alone, and that is why Sean Covey chose that subject to address procrastination.

Pokey is a porcupine who finds all sorts of activities to distract him from studying, but when test day comes, he fails miserably. (Ooooh, do I know that feeling!) His friends decide to help him study, in order to retake the test, and he learns to Work First, Then Play. Or:

3. Put First Things First

The moral is to just get things done:

  • Don't complain.
  • Don't procrastinate.
  • Just do it.

This was just the sort of thing the boys and I needed to hear. Our chore charts, which worked great for two years, were out of date and in need of reorganizing. The same day that the book was brought home, I had made up new charts and set into effect new routines. Change is hard, but good.

Lily Plants a Garden

Besides that the book was published by Franklin Covey, this title drew my in. I have been planning my garden and scheming of ways to get the kids excited about it. The sub-title of had me curious.

It is the story of a girl who wants to plant a garden, but her mom says it will be too much work. The girl decides to write up what she will do in order to have the garden, and how her mother will benefit from her having a garden. Mom okays the garden, and the girl gets to work. In the end, everyone benefits.

4.  Think Win-Win

It is about following the golden rule and helping others to be happy. I'm still wondering how to sell the boys on gardening. Maybe, just maybe, they will get that road-side stand they have been dreaming of... But first, I will have to convince them that selling wildflowers stuffed in tin cans does not go with selling vegetables!

Jumper and the Lost Butterfly Net

Jumper wants to play, but he is so busy thinking about someone to play with him, that he neglects to listen to what his friends are really saying. In the end, he learns to listen with his ears and his heart.

Listening is an important skill, and it requires more than our ears. It is a skill we all need to practice on a regular basis, because less than 10% communication is contained in the words we use. Just think about a baby talking: "Ann, Ehh, Urr!" accompanied with smiling, squirming, pointing and fussing. They say plenty.

Jumper learns to listen before he talks, with his ears and his heart.

5.  Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood


The Big Bad Badgers

A story of team work: The friends learn to work together in order to defeat their opponents when playing soccer. This is a lesson my family needed. I tend to be of the mindset, "A team of one gets things done," but this story pointed out the power of synergy. They focused on each person using their strengths, and together, won the game:

6.  Together is Better

I coached soccer one summer, and know full well the need to work together. We lost the first two games of the season because the kids fought each other for the ball -- each wanting to be the best.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

-Helen Keller


Sleepy Sophie

Sophie stays away at night reading, but then falls asleep during class the next day. Her mother confronts her on the issue of being unbalanced in her life and not taking care of her whole body. I find I am a little too much like Sophie to say too much, but the idea of being balanced is very appealing. This book shows four areas to be balanced in: body, heart, mind and soul.

7.  Balance Feels Best

Part of the reorganization of the chores was setting aside time each day to do one big task. We now have a baking day and a banking/correspondence day. We have a building/sewing day and a finishing day. Everyday has time for reading and play.

Ivorwen, 2009.

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    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 

      5 years ago from Australia

      When I'm ready to have children I hope I can apply these to have a very happy little bub!

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thanks Nell. I think we need some review in this house. It has been a while since we have read it. :)

    • nell79 profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      This one sounds like a good one! We are book lovers in this house and I'm always on the lookout for quality books. I'll put this one on my list :) Very useful!

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I know my children really enjoy it. The stories really hit where the kids are at in life, and are ones they relate to.

    • Madison22 profile image


      9 years ago from NYC

      WOW! This sounds like a great book for kids. Mine are all grown and in college, but a book like this makes a great gift for someone with younger kids. Thanks!

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you, 01sweetlove.

    • 01sweetlove profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank-you for stopping by. I really like this hub. I want to check out that book! I'll be back.

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thanks for that info Staci! I knew that there was a curriculum available, but hadn't taken time to find out any more about it. We are steadily applying the principles to everyday life.

      I think it is wonderful that your daughter is getting an excellent education, due to these principles!

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Ivorwen, my daughter's elementary school actually bases its curriculum on the Covey Habits. So, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids is HIGHLY recommended for parents and kids The school has been awarded numerous national awards due to the Covey leadership priniciples embodied in the curriculum and taught to the kids in the classroom - principles which this book does a great job of imparting.

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Your welcome, Lgali.

    • Lgali profile image


      10 years ago

      thnaks for this info about this nice book

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thanks Badcompany. I've always loved the library too.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      The Library is my playground, always has been since I was a kid and its nice to know you have them reading, so many kids miss out because of computer games and dvds.

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Do Tom! It has been over a month since we began using it, and the kids are really starting to understanding the principles of order and caring for others.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      10 years ago from United States

      I love children's literature! I'll definitely check this book out. Thanks!

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 

      10 years ago from United States

      Awesome! Anything for more true productivity.

    • Ivorwen profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Joy, definitely do check it out. It is a wonderful book, and unlike the ones written for adults, it is simple enough (for me) to put into practice immediately. We have each been picking out one major thing each day that we would like to accomplish, looking over what we have to do, and then planning our days. The home is running much smother, because we are accommodating each other and the work is getting done.

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 

      10 years ago from United States

      Cool, I'll be checking this book out. It sounds like it's something my whole family could use.


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