The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Kids Version)

I recently came across Stephen Covey’s Book, The Leader in Me. My first thought was, “Isn’t he the author of the classic leadership and self help book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ?”

So I was intrigued as to why is he is suddenly talking about Children and Education.

After reading through it, I conclude that is a gem and that all educators, especially principals and coordinators should read it since a lot of administrative power lies with them.

But to actually make the whole thing work would require a lot of stakeholders to work together: admin, teachers, and parents.

The approach the school that spearheaded this program, A.B. Combs, used the ubiquitous, meaning it is built in the entire strategic system of the school. All stakeholders had to buy in and play their role to make it work.

For parents, they have to apply the 7 Habits at home also so that it is reinforced both in school and home.

As a result, it’s creating ripples across the globe, from various states in USA, to Canada and Singapore. Here in the Philippines, I’m not aware of any school tapping the 7 Habits explicitly.

The closest I have heard of a local school that used Covey’s materials is Reedley International School.

(Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Reedley nor with Franklin Covey Company)

So what’s the big idea of this book?

What if we apply the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in the School and inculcate its principles to children as young as 5? 

I found that notion intriguing.  I thought it was a daring and creative idea.

Wow, imagine preschool kids learning these 7 effective habits early at their age?

We all know that the childhood stage is very crucial in developing habits and values. By teaching these principles, we are setting a firm foundation for the students.

Let’s first recap the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Of course, these habits would have to be modified and taught very simply when dealing with the younger kids.

But those in the higher grades can learn the habits as it is and applied to their circumstances.

The important thing to do is that they must taught and modeled explicitly. The whole school has to imbibe the principles behind the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Everyone has to own the 7 habits.
In my previous experience teaching character education, it was not imbedded in everything we did. We would stop and say we are going to talk about “being responsible” this month and next month we’re going to talk about “kindness.” I think it’s apparent that does not work.
~Muriel Summers

Imagine if these formed the core values of a character formation program of a school and a home?

Our future would be filled with people armed with both academic excellence AND integrity.

The problem with our world is that we have plenty of smart people but they lack the essential quality of Integrity.

The 7 Habits of Effective People create leaders. It’s time we develop leaders right from the beginning.

What do the 7 Habits instill in students? 

Habits 1 to 3 instill self-leadership skills:

Self Leadership

  • Initiative
  • Self-motivation
  • Self-confidence
  • Planning skills
  • Goal Setting skills
  • Organization skills
  • Time Management skills
Habits 4 to 6 instill interdependence skills, the ability to work with others:
Children Working Together
  • Conflict Management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Creativity
Finally, Habit 7 embraces the power of renewal in all aspects of life:
  • Technical skills
  • Good Health
  • Emotional Stability
  • Meaningful work 
I think when students have solid character formation, like through the 7 Habits, they can face a challenging and uncertain future head on with more confidence and conviction.
The world is very complicated and changing. The challenges we face today are not the same challenges young people will face tomorrow. So we felt the best way to anchor our students was through teaching timeless principles.
~Mr. Francis Foo, Principal, Chua Chu Kang Primary School, Singapore
What are your thoughts on letting young children learn the 7 Habits?
Share them in the comments below!
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Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at


  1. This is a good book to read for all ages. There is a version for teens and that is what I recommend for kids to read because the examples fits better to that age group. But just like the PSI leadership seminar where there is a children’s version and there is an adult’s version, the concept is really the same because the wisdom of the principles do not really change. It only varies depending on the life experiences that you have encountered in your life.

    Did you know Teacher Argee that Ms. Marfina Teodorois who is a graduate of the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), and a certified facilitator of the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People Program of Stephen Covey will be speaking this Friday in a seminar hosted by the ADHD Society. The seminar is about A Seminar on HANDLING AND DEVELOPING PUBLIC & SOCIAL SKILLS FOR CHILDREN WITH AD/HD. You might be interested to go. The seminar fee is very minimal.

  2. I have read the 7 Habits for Adults, Teens and Kids. I have read The Leader in Me. Reading them increased my self-awareness, and helped me take responsibility for my life.

    As a mother, I prefer (and strongly wish) for my daughter to go to a school like A.B. Combs. In fact, I have written to the school administrator (in the school where my daughter is enrolled) about it. A lot of teachers are not even aware of what 7 Habits is all about.

    If the 7 Habits worked in the U.S., Singapore, Korea, and other countries, it should also have the same effect in the Philippines.

    Can I ask for some comments from parents whose kids are enrolled at Reedley if they have a culture of leadership there? Is the approach of teaching the 7 Habits ubiquitous? Or if the 7 Habits are simply taught as a separate life skills subject?

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