All parents want the same thing; they want their child to grow up to be happy and healthy. They want their child to have a good life, to make the right choices, and to be as successful as they can. It can be somewhat stressful trying to ensure that happens, and many parents can become burned out just trying to keep up with everything and ensuring that their little ones are walking the right path.
There is a way around this problem, however, and it means you can still give your children the life you want them to have, but you don’t have to become stressed and anxious about it; it’s all about being a wonderful positive role model for them.
To your children, especially when they are very young, you truly are their world – everything you do is impressive to them, everything you say is the gospel truth. So of course, they are going to be happy to follow in your footsteps and watch your actions. As long as you do the right things and say the right things, you can help to mould them into the kind of people who will have that happy, healthy life you want them to have. This might sound stressful, but it’s really about you doing what’s right and ensuring your children are aware of it. Read on to find out more.
When we think of being healthy, we will usually think of physical exercise. Regular exercise is hugely important, helping us to maintain a healthy weight and to ensure that our organs and muscles – and everything else in our bodies including our minds – are healthy too. This is why it’s something that everyone, adults and children alike, must do.
If you want your children to be healthy and physically fit, and yet you don’t exercise regularly and they never see you working out, are they going to be inspired to do the same? Or will they just want to sit and watch TV with you, or use their mobile devices? It will be the latter for the majority of kids. So, exercising together is an ideal situation. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, or anything where you are expending energy and getting fit. You might choose to stay at home and workout to a video online or create your own routines. Maybe you’ll play sports together. Even if you can’t exercise together, exercising separately will certainly work. The point is that you need to do it to show your child why it’s important; you can’t ask them to do something you refuse to do.
Healthy eating is another part of healthy living. As well as exercising regularly, you should eat well too. Try to eat meals as a family, as this is the best way that your child can see you are eating fruit and vegetables and healthy food. You must eat the same things as your child as much as possible; if they have a plate of salad and you have a bowl of fries smothered in ketchup, they are going to be confused and, when they have a chance to pick their own food, they will choose the option that you go for, not the one you’ve told them is good for them. Children will far more often do as you do, not as you say (assuming the two things are different).
As a bonus benefit, eating more healthily and exercising just as you would want your child to do will keep you fit and healthy too.
Self-improvement is something we should all be thinking about all the time. It’s easy to reach a certain level in life and then sit there comfortably, but is that what you want for your children? If not, you need to keep improving yourself, doing more, pushing yourself further, continuously learning so that you can be the best you can be. That way, your children will see that this is a normal way of life and that they should always be pushing themselves to improve too. This is perfect during their school days when they can achieve great things – and great grades – in this way, but it will help them tremendously in their working life too. If they know they can always keep improving, and they have a role model who did just that, they won’t want to settle for anything other than the very best of what they can do.
There are many different ways that someone can improve their lives. Going back to school to learn and gain more knowledge and qualifications is one thing; this can help when it comes time for promotion, for example, but equally, it’s something you could just do for yourself.
Starting your own business is another idea. When your children see what can be done from nothing at all, when they see you learning how to best prepare a restaurant budget to control costs, when they see you looking at different marketing methods, when they see you taking on your first employee or making your first sale, they will be proud, and it will spur them on to want to be just like you, making themselves successful and always looking for opportunities to learn.
Volunteering is good for everyone. It’s good for the people who are doing the volunteering, and it’s good for the people of the community that the volunteering is for. If you have spare time and you can afford to spend it doing some volunteer work, even if it’s not every week and is more of an ‘ad hoc’ kind of idea, you are doing wonderful things, and you’re being a great role model for your children.
Those who volunteer find that is a great way to build a bond with their family when they do it together, and afterwards you will feel good about what you have done as well as feeling proud of your children for helping out. This is a great way to show them that sometimes people need help, and whether it’s serving food in a homeless shelter or litter picking in the local park, someone is going to be benefitting (including the volunteers themselves).
Play With Them
Sometimes all a child really wants is to spend time with their parent, and playing is their ultimate goal. If you’ve ever had to say no when a child has asked you to play with them, you’ll understand the guilt that comes with it from your side, and the disappointment that comes with it from the child’s side.
If you want to be a positive role model for your children, why not make time to play with them more? Play is not a waste of time, and it’s not something that should be pushed aside for extra learning, for example (there should be room in everyone’s life for both); children learn through play, and by playing with them you are showing them how to learn and how to have fun at the same time.
This helps to get children more active early on in their lives, encouraging movement and enjoyment – this will be useful when it comes to more formal sports and exercise later on. Ideally, they will even prefer getting out in the open air to screen time (although again, using devices does have its benefits and will help a child learn and develop).
When you are playing with your children, you are showing them that play is fun throughout life, and you should always be ready to enjoy yourself more. Plus, they will create some beautiful memories of the two of you together, and this will boost their happiness throughout their lives.
Be Open And Honest
To be a great role model for your children, they need to know who you are. This doesn’t just mean they need to know who you are as a parent in relation to them; they need to know everything. This is especially important if you want to be open and honest with you about their own thoughts and feelings and about who they are as they get older.
It’s crucial to share your past experiences, good or bad, mistakes or successes, because that’s what has made you into who you are. Hiding things, pretending about other things, won’t help your child look up to the real you. It won’t help them be honest and open.
Even if you are concerned that they will think of you as a ‘failure’, as long as you have a positive attitude and show that you have learned from your past, whatever you have done or not done can be seen as a positive.
It’s good to release emotions; much better than keeping them locked up inside which can be detrimental to mental health and relationships. However, when dealing with children, you must be careful about exactly how your frustrations and anger, or even distress, are released. Shouting at your child, even if you feel guilty afterwards, is something that they will remember and it might drive a wedge between you. Plus, it will teach them that shouting and getting angry is the best way to deal with issues.
Use different methods of emotional release such as exercising or taking deep breaths and walking away from the situation for a short time. You’ll be showing your children how self-control works, which is a skill for life that they can learn from a role model like you.