As parents we all want to set a good example for our children, and set them up for the very best start in life. But how can we go about it? Here are some ideas.
Eat well and exercise
Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body is crucial for health and happiness, both now and in the future. It’s important to teach children that living healthily is rewarding, it’s not some kind of punishment or restriction for what they really want. Exercise and good food should be enjoyable, get them involved in cooking, grow herbs and vegetables together in the garden, bake healthy recipes and do activities that are fun. Bike rides, water fights, basketball in the park, there are plenty of options. They’ll grow up with a love of healthy food and an interest in exercise and the outdoors.
Be kind and empathetic
We’re all born with the capacity for kindness and empathy, however, it’s something that we have to learn as we get older. As parents, it’s our job to instill this into our children from a young age, being able to respect, care for and see other people’s perspectives are things that will come in useful for the rest of your child’s life. All of their friendships with other people, later on their relationships will be built upon these foundations. Kindness and empathy is needed to be able to connect with and bond with others. Remind your children to be kind often, teach them how to share and when they do something mean spirited, talk to them and explain why this isn’t the correct way. Be kind and courteous yourself and they will eventually mirror your behavior.
Keep on learning
Once we leave formal education, many of us simply stop learning. We don’t chase knowledge or a better understanding of things, instead, we fall into a rut where we’re doing the same things, day in, day out. Keeping on learning is so good for your mental health; it could be in an academic setting, you could study social sciences at university for example. Or it could be in a more casual way, such as teaching yourself a musical instrument using articles, blogs and videos online. Your children seeing your thirst for knowledge and that you keep pushing yourself to learn sets a really good example to them. It shows them that learning and expanding your mind is something that’s important and rewarding.
Admit when you make mistakes
Your children don’t need to think that you’re some kind of flawed superhuman. Just like everyone, you’ll make mistakes or do the wrong thing at times, the important thing is to show how you’ve overcome them. If you make a mistake, perhaps you lose your temper and act in a way you wouldn’t normally then once you’ve calmed down, apologize to your child and explain what happened. You could also talk to them about past mistakes that you’ve made and how you overcome them. They should know that making mistakes is part of being human and it’s ok to not always get it right, the important thing is overcoming and putting right your wrongs and learning from them, as that’s what makes you a good person.