Most parents want their children to grow up and be successful, well-adapted adults who thrive in this crazy world. Believe it or not, what you do now impacts and shapes their future.
Let’s face it – no parent is perfect. Sometimes we hit the drive-through, throw out some curse words, overreact to something minor or make careless decisions … us parents are humans too. But, for the most part, we try our best to be a positive example for our children. Being a positive role model not only means modeling desirable behaviors but also accepting responsibility when you make a mistake.
Eat Your Veggies
One way you can positively influence your child’s health and habits is through your daily food choices. Make it a point to include vegetables at every meal, offer fruit as snacks and scale back on fried chicken and tater tots. Teach your child the value of a balanced diet and how our bodies use food as fuel for our playground time, our school learning and everything else we do.
Move Your Body
Hate exercise? You’re not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, up to 60% of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise and over 25% are not active at all. However, being active doesn’t always have to mean hitting the gym. Make it a point to get moving with your family regularly. Bike rides, walks, gardening, bowling, skating, playing a game of basketball in the driveway – whatever works for you. The message you send by being active is that you want your child to treat their body with respect and that you expect them not to spend the whole day playing video games.
Many parents worry about their children seeing them have a disagreement with a spouse or family member. However, disagreements are a healthy part of life. We sometimes argue as we consider different viewpoints that help us shape our identity. What’s important is for your child to see how to fight fairly (without excessive name-calling or derogatory comments) and that you are able to eventually resolve the issue with the other person.
Everyone makes mistakes. Modeling behavior of accepting responsibility when you’ve made a mistake teaches the value of integrity. Trying to hide or cover up a mistake will show your child that lying and avoiding punishment is the desired behavior. Teach them to own up to their mistakes and accept the consequences.
You are the primary adult influence in your child’s life, and they are looking to you for guidance on how to handle certain situations. Establishing good habits early in life will make it easier for them to adapt throughout adulthood instead of trying to correct bad habits established in childhood.
“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent. ” -BOB KEESHAN