7 Key Things To Role Model To Your Kids
Our children love to imitate us, we know this. They want to do whatever we are doing, and from a very young age. Which is why we need to think about what it is that we are doing, are these the things that we want our children copying? Are these behaviors that we want to see in them? Having our kids wanting to mimic us is very useful and powerful, if we utilise that natural instinct correctly. They can learn so much simply by seeing that we do and repeating it themselves, so want would we like them to learn? Well, here are 7 key things to role model to your kids, these are the things that you will definitely want them to take from you.
Manage your emotions
This does not mean stamp them out or keep a tight rein on them, it simply means that you need to work on expressing your emotions maturely. Articulate to your kids if you are feeling angry, frustrated, sad or exhausted, and then work through how you are handling these emotions with them.
For example, you might be counting to ten or taking deep breaths to calm down. You might be going out for a walk to clear your head or playing squash to combat frustration. We all feel emotions, role model to your children how best to handle them so that they are channeled appropriately.
This is also a great area for communicating openly, so that your children understand that is healthy to talk through their feelings with others, rather than bottling them up.
Read, read and read!
Children need to be read to from a very young age. Every single day, and then keep on reading to them and with them all throughout their childhood.
Children who love books, who read for pleasure and read regularly are at a significant advantage to those who do not. There is a huge vocabulary gap between those children who are read to and those who are not. Reading also improves memory function, creativity and imagination, empathy, academic ability across all fields and it expands children’s worlds. Gifting a love of reading is one of the very best things that you can do for your child educationally.
The best ways to get kids loving their books is to make reading fun and ensure that they see you doing it. Parents with full bookshelves, who always have a book on the go, who get excited in libraries and bookstores, are role modelling their love of reading. If this is normal and fun for mom or dad, then it’s got to fun for kids, right? Role model reading, share in their journey here.
Be respectful of others
Be tolerant of other people, be open to other opinions. Demonstrate to your children that it is healthy to debate and discuss issues, and it is absolutely acceptable to get it wrong from time to time.
We want to raise our children to be able to listen and understand other points of view, and to be able to either take on board new concepts and adapt, or challenge appropriately. They need to see us doing this and they need to see that we comfortable changing our opinions and also apologize if we find ourselves in the wrong.
These are basic social skills, these are the tools with which we negotiate and live happily alongside one another.
Say what you mean
This one is important on two different levels. Firstly, as parents, if we say something will or will not happen, then we need to deliver on it. We must keep our promises and we must see through any penalties for poor behavior. If we say ‘no’, we mean it and no amount of badgering will change that. As parents, these are absolutely crucial for setting and maintaining boundaries and garnering respect.
On a second level, our children are learning from us that we are honest, that we do as we say we are going to do and we can be trusted to do so. They need to believe in us to feel safe and loved, but they also need to learn these behaviors from us in order to copy them and act in the same way in their own friendships.
Form healthy relationships
Our children learn so much from how we interact with those closest to us, whether that be our partner, family or friends. As this is the case, we need to ensure that we are forming healthy relationships.
We need to offer loyalty and trust to people, and we must expect it in return. Our kids can see us supporting and helping others, relying on and believing in people and compromising where we need to. These are normal and healthy friendships and relationships.
If we are feeling anything less than equal in a relationship, or not feeling good about ourselves, then the chances are that it is not healthy, and our children do not need to see this. Do what you can to move away from these attachments as we want our kids learning that we respect ourselves and expect it from others.
Never give up on your dreams
Your children should see you living your life to the fullest. They need to see lifelong learners, people who are passionate about enjoying life and understanding the world around them. They need to see you working hard towards your own dreams and goals, not giving up when the going gets tough, and it does, we know it gets harder as we get older and we feel the weight of responsibilities.
Let them see that it’s never too late to get a college education and become a meteorologist, making a difference to climate change with The Climate Group, or a family attorney working with Betsy Fischer.
You might want to climb to the top of your current job, or completely switch your career and start down a different path. You could choose a career that will see you making changes in the world for your own children, perhaps teaching or social work, or a career that fulfils a lifelong interest.
Maybe it’s less about your work and more about your hobbies and passions. If you have always wanted to ride an elephant in India, do it! If you have always wanted to write a novel, do it! If you have always wanted to learn how to knit, do it!
It really doesn’t matter how big or small the goal is. Whatever your dream is, push for it and share in it with your children. They will learn so much from you, as they become inherently driven and determined.
Show them, not tell them
We know this, we know that we are all about the role modelling. But sometimes we can work hard on the ideas in the list above and then we can forget ourselves on the everyday issues, so we really need to be mindful around these.
If we don’t want our children smoking, we need to be non-smokers. If we want them eating their greens, then we need to be eating the same. If we want them to have no hang ups around their body, we shouldn’t be talking negatively about ours or yo-yo dieting around them. If we want them of their screens, then we need to put our phones down. You get the idea, these suggestions could go on and on. These are the habits and practices that they see from us day in and day out, so ensure that they are the ones that we want them to see.
What else would you add to this list?