As a parent, you are your child’s very first hero, their first teacher, their first best friend, and the first person that they look up to. You are their role model. This can seem like an enormous pressure, but there’s no right way to do it. Being a role model doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect all of the time. In fact, everyone in the family will be happier if your relationship is filled with camaraderie and fun, while “showing them the ropes” of life. Here are five easy ways that you can be wonderful role models for your children.
Do What You Say You Will
Stability is essential to a child’s development. Therefore, it’s important that you stick to your word when it comes to both punishments and rewards. Show your children that what you tell them means everything and that you don’t make promises you can’t keep. Sure, it’s easy to say something, but much harder to follow through with it.
It’s critical that our children can trust us at our word and that they grow up knowing that a promise means something real. When we are honest and consistent, our children will be happier, and we can avoid conflicts with them that lead to screaming fits. Check out these tips on how to connect with your kids using honest, compelling communication.
Be Body Positive
Kids today are surrounded by all types of powerful images. The internet and social media are full of perfect bodies and beautiful people. It’s hard growing up in this type of environment with pressures coming from all directions. It’s even harder if you think your parents want to change themselves. By all means, exercise and eat healthily. But don’t let your kids see you weighing yourself daily or worrying about squeezing into an outfit. Instead, be body positive and confident around them to show them that you don’t have to be insta-perfect to love yourself.
You can pass along healthy habits by making them enjoyable. Incorporate fitness into your family’s daily routine by going on bike rides, playing sports together in your backyard, doing yoga, and even making time for fun exercises indoors when the weather isn’t so great. And enjoy healthy foods in your home by gardening, choosing natural and organic products, and cooking together as a family.
Children (and adults for that matter) shouldn’t be expected to do everything right all of the time. They will make many, many mistakes. As adults, it’s our job to show them that this is alright and nothing panic over. You can guide them by pointing out when you happen to make a mistake. Even better, talk to them about how you handled a mistake and what you learned from it. Teach them to apologize, admit to their mistakes, acknowledge their faults, and learn lessons so they can move forward. A mistake is only a problem if nothing positive comes from it. When children are more self-aware socially and emotionally, they can more successfully overcome challenges they face and ultimately find true happiness.
Never Stop Learning
School-age children often mistakenly think that learning is something they have to do–something that is forced on them. To be good role models, it’s important that you both never stop learning and that you do it in a variety of ways. You can study formally like getting an operations management online degree or you can show them that you can learn from everyday life by reading together, exploring the outdoors, working on STEM projects, being creative, or traveling to new places. You can also try asking them to teach you about a topic that they are interested in. Always be sure to ask them questions about the things they love to show them that you are engaged. This will help develop their love of learning for a lifetime.
Being good role models isn’t all about promises and learning. It’s also about having a blast together! Enjoy your time with them by being silly and laughing, going on vacation, getting creative, playing freely without any rules, and running around outside. The best way to raise happy, balanced kids is to be the type of role models who love their children endlessly and show them that life shouldn’t always be taken seriously.
In what ways are you a good role model for your children?