There is no denying that there are many people in your child’s life that influence them. However, none are as significant as their parents. From the day they’re born, your children learn from you how to live, cope, and act in the world. Though you may try to teach them the right way to go, it is ultimately your actions that they pay attention to and emulate. That’s why it is essential to be a positive role model for your kids by setting a good example.
Take Care of Your Body
When it comes to your health it is better to be proactive than reactive. Many physical and mental conditions today could be prevented with healthy lifestyle practices. Unfortunately, most people don’t learn this until they’ve developed something that requires them to make efficient changes. Show your kids the right thing to do by taking care of your body. Prioritize your health by making time to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Reinforcing these practices with your entire family also gets children in the habit of caring for themselves which reduces the likelihood of them becoming sick later in life.
Take Care of Your Mind
There are going to be unforeseen circumstances in your life that can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. While these circumstances can’t always be avoided or controlled, knowing how to cope with the emotional overwhelm keeps your mental health intact. When things are going crazy at home or in the office, learn how to cope in a healthy manner. Try meditating, scheduling a massage, reading, taking a nap, or spending time with your kids. From marital arguments to financial woes, if your kids can see you keep your cool in highly-stressful situations, they will repeat it in their own lives.
Speak Up When You Need Help
All too often parents try to shield their children from the harsh but real issues in life. While it is necessary to an extent, pretending that things are always fine creates a false reality for your children. They then repeat those practices in their own lives and cover up their troubles or difficult emotions. If you are going through an especially difficult time, don’t be afraid to speak up and get the help you need.
For example, let’s say you’re overwhelmed with household chores. Instead of continuing to do all the work yourself when you haven’t the time or energy, ask for help. Talk to your partner, family members, or children about pitching in. A more serious example might be you struggling with depression and as a result, addiction. Instead of trying to hide this from your kids, let them know what you’ve been going through and let them see you get the help you need from a drug detox center and therapist.
Be Kind to Others
In a world where drama and chaos seem to rule, it’s ideal to show your children that kindness still exists (and is good for everyone). In your everyday life, try to find ways to be kind to others. Buy something nice for your spouse, help a parent out with some household project, assist an elderly person with taking their groceries to the car, allow someone with fewer things to go ahead of you in line, donate to various charities or organizations, or participate in charity work like volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park.
Everyone is so busy working or stressing over life, that they don’t stop to smell the roses. This type of lifestyle and mentality only leads to stress, frustration, and depression. Show your children different by making a point to enjoy your life on a regular basis. Spend time together as a family, go out on dates as a couple, vacation with friends and family, and pick up hobbies or attend events that interest you. Your children will see this and realize that life isn’t always routine and stress but that it can be enjoyed to the fullest.
Whether you know it or not, you are your children’s first teacher. No matter what you say to them, however, it is your actions that they pick up on and apply to their own lives. As any parent wants nothing more than for their children to lead long, healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives, it is imperative that you take steps like those described above to set the right example.