By Derek Goodman
Modeling is one of the most important ways that parents and caregivers nurture children into happy, healthy, capable members of society. Children look to adults when learning to navigate the world around them and imitate what they see.
Do you know what your words and actions are teaching your little ones? Here are 12 ways parents and caregivers can be positive role models for children of any age.
Practice Mindful Parenting
Mindful parenting prevents emotions from getting in the way of your parenting goals and teaches children how to manage their own thoughts and feelings.
- Learn to pause before reacting to parenting conflicts and let negative emotions pass by instead of taking over. You’ll get better at managing parenting stress and model healthy emotional regulation for your kids while you’re at it.
- It’s easier to respond mindfully to difficult reactions when you understand what’s behind them. Learn to understand childhood reactions as well as your own.
- You can’t count the number of times you’ve been frustrated with your kids for not listening, but have you shown them how to be good listeners? Make sure you’re paying attention and expressing interest when your child speaks.
Pursue Personal Goals
It’s challenging to think long-term when you’re just trying to get through the day, but personal goals are important for modeling a well-rounded life.
- You may have less time, but it is possible to maintain hobbies if you manage your time. Look into hobbies you can do at home like painting, gardening, woodworking, or making music.
- Get involved in your community through volunteering, joining a club or community organization, attending local events, or getting involved in local politics. Community involvement creates a sense of purpose outside of work and family life.
- Even if you’re not ready to return to work, keep your skills relevant. This could be the perfect time to go back to school for your master’s degree. You can earn an online master’s degree and do it on your own schedule so you re-enter the workforce at a higher level than you left it.
Take Care of Your Health
Our children are the most important thing in our world, but you can’t give them your best if you’re not taking care of yourself.
- Follow a structured daily routine including regular bedtimes, personal hygiene habits, and healthy family meals. If you want kids to cut back on screen time, make sure you’re setting a good example.
- Everyday self-care rituals model healthy stress management — even if it happens away from the kids. Carving out a non-negotiable 15 minutes for yourself instills the importance of self-care while protecting your sanity as a parent or caregiver.
- Try to get past picky eating habits by exploring new foods in small portions. Try new ingredients in favorite recipes and experiment with different prep methods. Just because you dislike an ingredient in one preparation doesn’t mean you won’t love it another way.
Model Healthy Relationships
Relationships with others are an important part of our well-being as parents, caregivers, individuals, and families. The way parents and caregivers form and maintain relationships shapes the bonds their children make in the future.
- Family life doesn’t leave much time for friendships, but there are many benefits to maintaining close personal relationships in your life. Parents can make friendships a priority by sharing childcare duties with a partner or doing family activities with your children.
- Express acceptance, affection, and appreciation in front of your children. Don’t take the important relationships in your life for granted and avoid shame-inducing judgments.
- Set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others. Boundaries promote trust and communication in relationships. Children who lack healthy boundaries are more likely to have their time, emotions, values, and space disrespected by others.
Parents and caregivers are a child’s guiding light. Make sure you’re leading your child in a positive direction with these mindful parenting practices.