How to Model Good Choices for Your Children
By Sara Butler
As a parent it’s important to take good care of yourself, but for more reasons than you may realize. Sure, you need to stay healthy and happy in order to raise a family and meet all your responsibilities, but you’re also modeling behavior for your children. Your children learn from you, both the good things and the bad, so you need to pay attention to the behavior they're watching. Here are some tips to help you be a healthy role model for your kids.
Going to Bed
Sleep deprivation is something a lot of parents think they just have to deal with, but studies have been published in the journal Pediatrics that show parents with poor sleep habits have kids with poor sleep habits too.
A great strategy to model good sleep behavior is to go to bed when your children do. If you stay up watching television or playing games your child is going to think they are missing out on all the fun and naturally want to stay up with you. If you want your child to have a healthy bedtime routine then you need a healthy sleep routine of your own. Set a bedtime for everyone and try to stick to it.
Stress is a natural part of life, but how you react to stress is unique to you. Do you yell? Cry? Ignore the situation? Whatever you do, remember your children are watching. When parents are feeling stress they are also often less tolerant of their children’s behavior and less attentive to their needs, and that can lead to bad behavior. Combat this stress cycle by doing something relaxing as a family together such as a short yoga routine or going for a walk after dinner. Have a little dance party in your living room or just sit around the dinner table and talk about your day. A little attention to stress and how you handle it can go a long way to modeling appropriate behavior for your children.
One of the biggest ways you influence your children is through the food you bring into your home and the eating habits you model. Studies have shown time and again that when parents eat healthy their children do too. Don’t be afraid to introduce new foods to your children at dinner. Chances are if you eat them your kids will too!