After twenty minutes of begging my four-year-old to brush her teeth, I was over it.
Since we were already late, I figured I’d go ahead and wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed for the day. A ritual usually reserved for after she leaves for daycare with her dad.
I started to rage brush my teeth. As I continued brushing, she looked at me and said, “I want to be like you, Mama! I’m going to brush my teeth now!” I froze for a few seconds. First, to kick myself that I had not brushed my teeth sooner, and second, to ponder this aha parenting moment – monkey see, monkey do!
As a parent, you want the best for your children. You want them to be strong, healthy, and independent individuals. But have you ever considered that leading by example is the best way to teach your children these values? Children learn by watching and imitating their parents, so it is essential to practice what you preach.
This is particularly true when creating healthy habits in your household! This means not only providing nutritious meals but also modeling healthy eating habits yourself. So, if you want your children to eat fruits and vegetables, make sure you are eating them too. If you want your children to limit their processed food intake, you should do the same.
Another way to lead by example is to prioritize physical activity. Encourage your children to be active, whether it is through sports, dancing, or simply playing outside. But don’t just sit on the sidelines and watch. Join in the fun! Take a family walk after dinner or go for a bike ride together. By making physical activity a part of your family’s routine, you are not only setting a positive example but also creating fun memories that will last a lifetime.
It is also important to prioritize self-care and stress management. Studies show that parents who are constantly stressed and overwhelmed are more likely to pass those feelings to their children. Instead, take the time to practice self-care and stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or even just taking a few minutes to read a book or listen to music. Your children will learn from your example that caring for themselves is important too.
I don’t pretend to know the formula for raising strong, healthy, and independent children. But I imagine that an important ingredient is to model the behavior you want to see in them. By practicing healthy habits, you show your children that taking care of their bodies and minds is a priority. By prioritizing physical activity, self-care, and stress management, you’re setting them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. And by teaching them the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, you’re giving them the tools they need to thrive.