When I first started looking at habit training with my kids, my first thoughts were I like the concept, but how does it actually work?
I found that the key point in habit training is: Take one at a time.
Choose one habit and focus on it for six to eight weeks. Then just keep an eye on it while you select another habit to focus on.
This is my favourite quote on how we form habits:
You have neurons in your brain. Those neurons talk to each other. And if you have certain neurons repeatedly talk to each other in a certain sequence, your brain starts to make note of that sequence, or route. The more times you mentally travel down that neuron route, the closer your brain gets to running on auto-pilot.”
The more we practice and go through certain actions with our kids, the more it will become an automated habit that they will do unconsciously. I remember starting to teach my daughter the adab of the bathroom when she was about 3 years old. Every time she would enter the bathroom we would stop, put out her left leg and say the duaa. Now at 4 and a half she does it automatically, and even reminds me when I forget :)
Al Ghazali talked about habit training in his book 'Golden Principles of Raising Children'. He talks about many habits that parents can build in their child through proper training. These include etiquettes of eating, dressing, sleeping, respecting elders, patience and many more. You can find a translation of the book and accompanying note on this blog InshAllah (Jazahom Allah Kheir).