Have you ever spotted your child watching you?
Have you ever heard them repeat a word or a phrase that you had previously used?
Have you ever seen your children act out in ways that are familiar to your own behavior?
Our kids are learning from us all the time, as we are their biggest role models. What we do matters, so it’s not a case of ‘do what I say not do what I do,’ as we need to be mindful of both our words and actions if we want them to create healthy habits in their own lives.
So, if you have ever wondered how to be a good role model for your kids, here are some suggestions that we hope you find useful.
#1: Get off the sofa
Have you ever told your kids off for not exercising enough? Have you shown frustration at their addiction to their screens? Have you ever told them to get outside to burn off their energy? And have you ever said and expressed such things, and then settled down in front of the television or played with your smartphone?
If you want your kids to exercise more, you need to be physically active yourself. So, don’t remain rooted to your sofa while complaining to your children. Involve them in exercise by doing something together, perhaps by going for a bike ride, or metal detecting, or any other such activity that will get you all outdoors. And exercise in your own time too, as by seeing you make attempts to keep fit, you might encourage your children to do the same.
#2: Eat your greens
You know that healthy eating is important, and like every good parent, you probably encourage your children to eat their greens. But do you eat all of the vegetables on your plate? Or do you push some to the side, or pretend to eat them while feeding them to the family dog instead?
If you want your children to eat healthily, you need to set a good example. So, eat your greens, and role model good behavior in other ways, perhaps by eating healthy snacks instead of too many sweet things, and by drinking more water to encourage your children to do the same. As with exercise, you will feel better if you follow good habits, and your children will benefit too! So, don’t tell your kids to eat better while sneakily hiding yourself away with a doughnut (your kids are destined to find you). Instead, cook those healthy foods you will all be likely to eat, as you will benefit the health of your whole family if you do.
#3: Follow the law
We’re sure you wouldn’t break any major laws, but have you ever committed a minor crime? Perhaps you have gone over the speed limit when out in the car. Or with the absence of a litter bin, you may have dropped litter or placed your chewing gum somewhere you shouldn’t. There could be other laws you have broken too, and while they might seem insignificant, your children may have noticed what you have done.
So, for the sake of your kids, be good! If you break the law, they might be tempted to break the law too. And while some of their crimes could be minor, they could hurt their chances of employment later in life if they are caught. They might even commit bigger crimes if your actions have taught them to have no respect for the law.
Be careful then, and the next time you’re tempted to put your foot down or get into your car after drinking alcohol, remember that not only are you putting your kid’s lives in jeopardy, but you are setting a bad example too!
#4: Be kind to others
If you can serve the needs of other people, your children might grow up to care for others too. So, be kind to your neighbors and support them when they need help. Take part in voluntary work, and serve the needs of the community. And if somebody comes to you for help, be a good samaritan and help if you can, as your good actions will be picked up on by your children.
#5: Focus on self-improvement
You’re not perfect, and while this is okay, you can still make attempts to improve yourself. You could learn new skills by going to college or taking an online course. You could improve your career chances by gaining new qualifications. And if you struggle with addictions or other types of personal problems, you could get help for them instead of letting them rule your life.
When you focus on self-improvement, your children might too. They will develop a respect for learning and education, and this should hopefully be reflected in their attitudes to school, college, and their careers. And they might have more incentive to focus on their own personal areas of difficulty, and be they young or old, they might have a greater impetus to overcome them because of the examples you already set.
#6: Be mindful with your money
If you want your children to follow healthy money habits, you need to role model the same. This means finding ways to save money at home and at the supermarket. This means finding ways to curb your impulse spending. And this means making an effort to put money aside each month for your retirement and those rainy day emergencies.
If you can follow good money habits, your children might too. They might have more incentive to save up for the things they need in life instead of squandering the allowance you give them. And they might be able to sidestep the possibility of debt when they’re adults if they have learned good lessons from you, and that will allow them more financial freedom.
Walk the walk!
Don’t just talk the talk! Walk the walk, because if you can set good examples in your life, your children might pay attention and learn from what you do. Think about that today when you’re tempted to order in another takeaway, put your foot down on the highway, or buy something online that you don’t really need!