As an ambassador for Together Counts TM and as a parent, I try hard to be a good role model for my children. From watching what I say and how I say it, to leading a well-balanced life, I know that I set examples for my children in many forms, whether I mean to or not. It’s amazing how much they observe everything we say and do and emulate our behavior – even the bad habits! In life we know salt is going to spill and there will be messes to clean up, but it’s in those small moments of the day that we learn and grow together as a family.
Since family togetherness is a key aspect of the Together CountsTM mission, let me share some of the ways my husband and I try to model healthy, active habits for our two young children, and how we turn imperfect moments into opportunities for our kids to learn from us.
Food: I try my best to cook dinner for my family on a regular basis and we enjoy sitting and eating together at the table. Additionally, we also eat a variety of foods with diverse flavors, especially since my husband and I are both originally from Caribbean islands. This helps our children see and taste different foods. Going through a drive-thru is an easy solution on a busy school night (and an occasional necessity), but teach your kids to make a family favorite recipe that they’ll remember when they’re older and cooking for their own families.
Exercise: The kids love playing dance games and we often join them in the fun! By playing right along with them, we all get a little exercise and show our children that staying active and physical activity are an important part of energy balance. This is also an opportunity for your kids to teach you something. Have them share what they learned in gym class or a game played at recess. They’ll have fun being the teacher and you’ll have fun feeling like a kid all again.
Caring for Family & Loved Ones: Stress the importance of family and show kids that we need to help and take care of each other. We do this not only within our household, but also by helping our extended family, like my parents and other family members. This might mean raking leaves for a grandparent, assisting with grocery shopping and meal prep, or attending medical appointments.
Learning from Mistakes: Though we do try, it’s not always easy to keep up with exercise and eat nutritious foods all the time, so moderation is something we instill in our family. Despite what our children may think, parents make mistakes too; we actually point out when we’re straying from the balanced lifestyle we seek, so that our kids see we’re not perfect. This may be a different way of setting examples for our children, but it’s one we feel is also necessary so they learn that most things in life require balance or moderation.
What are some of the simplest ways you set examples for your children?
Bio: Melanie Edwards is the founder and editor of modernmami™.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog, owner of Ella Media, and is a Together Counts Ambassador. Originally from Puerto Rico, Melanie now resides in the Tampa Bay area of sunny Florida with her husband of 10 years and two children. Connect with Melanie on Twitter via @ellamedia & @modernmami.
For more posts on setting family examples, check out these Together Counts resources: