From making sure they can look after themselves to helping them grow up to be nice people, raising children is a huge responsibility. While you might think you’re teaching them all the right things, it’s easy to forget that so much of what they learn comes from observing how you behave too. Here are the top ways to set the best examples for your kids.
The Temper Trap
Let’s face it, being a kid is a lot less stressful than being an adult. When we’re tired and stressed out after work or an argument with our partner, it’s easy to lose our temper but doing so in front of the kids can encourage them to imitate our behaviour. Not that we’re saying it’s wrong to be anything other than perfectly calm and serene all the time either, just that – if you are feeling stressed and ready to snap – try to counting to ten, deep breathing or anything else that will help you calm down. Equally you can go somewhere and have a good swear in private. If you lose your temper in front of the kids it’ll be hard to teach them not to do the same when they’re stressed.
We all what our kids to be healthy but it’s hard to teach them to eat well and exercise if we’re not taking care of ourselves at the same time. As difficult as it can be sometimes, staying healthy is not a case of ‘do as I do, not as I say’ but very much a family responsibility. If you all eat well together, teach your little ones how to cook healthily, and exercise as a family, your little ones are much more likely to enjoy healthy activities than resent them.
Other People’s Shoes
Of all the traits you can instil in your kids, empathy is one of the most important. Empathy helps kids to be kind and caring, to share, and to see the world from other people’s perspectives instead of just their own. The best way to help your kids learn to be empathetic is to lead by example; teach them the importance of sharing from a young age and show that you can share too, help them see both sides in an argument and don’t be petty yourself, and encourage a giving attitude by donating to charities, doing volunteer work, or helping your little ones understand what life is like for people who have less than they do. Of course nobody’s perfect (we’re far from it!) but the more you can try to be kind and understanding in front of them, the more chance they’ll start to act that way too. After all, you can always get all your gossiping out over a glass of wine after they’ve gone to bed…