As a parent, you know your children pay more attention to what you do than to what you say. They look up to you and imitate your actions.
In fact, modeling is one of the most effective ways to encourage the values and behavior you want for your children. Try these tips to help you set a shining example.
Role-Modeling for Social and Emotional Development
1. Resolve conflicts. Show your kids how to settle differences peacefully and respectfully. Be willing to forgive and collaborate on reaching compromises.
2. Listen attentively. It’s easy to become distracted when your child wants to give you a 30 minute recap of a 10 minute cartoon. Remind yourself to be present for them. Be true to your word if you suggest talking about it after you finish making dinner.
3. Cultivate relationships. Your children observe how you interact with others. Give them a head start on forming strong and supportive friendships by establishing a pattern they’ll want to follow.
4. Be kind and generous. If you want your kids to share their toys, you need to do the same. Sign up for family events where you can volunteer together at a food kitchen or animal shelter. Speak politely to others even when you’re in a rush or feeling blue.
5. Grow spiritually. Encourage your children to find a purpose in their life. They may decide to stick with your faith tradition or use it as a stepping stone in forming their own beliefs.
Role-Modeling for Healthy Behavior
1. Eat your vegetables. One out of three children in America are overweight or obese. You can help your sons and daughters lower their risk for diabetes and other serious health issues by managing your weight and making smart food choices. Minimizing junk food and getting most of your calories from vegetables and fruits are two of the most effective strategies.
2. Exercise regularly. Physical activity is another important part of the equation. Buy a family gym membership. Walk up the stairs instead of using the elevator, especially when your kids are around.
3. Continue learning. Minds need conditioning too. Your kids are more likely to read books and be interested in science if you join them for bedtime stories and creative play.
4. Manage stress. Teach your kids how to respond to pressure and make time for relaxation. Invite them to meditate with you, and turn off your phone during dinner.
5. Demonstrate safety. Kids tend to think they’re invincible, but you can train them to make caution a habit. Explain why you don’t drive when you’re tired.
Role-Modeling for Financial Responsibility
1. Stick to a budget. When your kids ask for fancy electronics, turn it into a teaching moment. Reveal how you balance your income and expenses. Reining in excess spending now will help your kids avoid credit card debt later.
2. Save for the future. Put aside some money from each paycheck for retirement or home improvement projects. You may inspire your kids to devote a portion of their babysitting loot for college.
3. Pursue meaningful work. Bring your kids to the office or take pictures so they can see what do for a living. Describe how your interests led you to your current career.
4. Break free from materialism. Most of all, clarify your own philosophy about money. Your kids will notice your priorities.
Naturally, you’ll slip sometimes, but you can use those setbacks as learning opportunities to discuss what happened and make positive changes. Your children are watching each move you make, so guide them towards happiness and success.