Actions are better than words
When it comes to our children we expect words to work magic even when it is clearly not happening. From a young age, your kid mimics your style, behaviour and words. You are her first source of information and exposure to the world, her first role model. Whatever you do, your child will follow blindly, at least until a certain age. So, how you behave around her matters hugely. In order to instil desired behaviour, you will need to bring some changes in your behaviour too. Below are a few pointers to start with.
Healthy Food Habits
Expecting your kid to drink milk and finish her breakfast while you rush to office with a sandwich crammed in your mouth is not really setting a good example. Your schedule could be hectic but, keeping in mind that you are her role model, you will have to find 15 minutes of peace to have breakfast with your kid. Also, if there are some desired foods you want to eat, start eating them yourself first. Always serve the same food to yourself and the child. Also to encourage a healthy behaviour towards food, do not complaint about what has been cooked and eat happily. Children sense emotions faster than words.
Exercise and Fitness
Even if in her school and your office schedule it’s not possible for you to find time for exercise everyday, make it a weekend thing. This will reinforce to children the importance of fitness and being active. In fact, you can decide some physical activities to do together. This will not just help in emphasising the point of fitness but also act as a relationship bonding exercise.
Every parents’ nightmare is a child who talks back and undermines parents’ authority and opinion. You will be surprised when you realise how much of communication style your kids have adopted from you. Whenever you are talking to your spouse or anyone in the family, watch your tone. Avoid sarcasm or rude words. To put it simply, talk how you want your children to talk with you. Be an attentive listener as when in all your interactions.
Positive Mental Health
A child’s self image depends on what you say about them in their hearing. If you call her stupid and dumb, that is what she will believe about herself. It is never a good idea to discuss her in her presence with other family members. If you have to, do so out of the child’s hearing. In her presence, use positive language; instead of telling her what not to do, tell her what to do. Instead of saying, do not watch TV, tell her : come and help Mom with laying out the table.
There is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. When your kid is confident about everything for no apparent reason, it can lead to cognitive dissonance as an adult. Teach her that perfecting personality is an ongoing process; that one has to make constant improvement in themselves to achieve such confidence. Encourage her to learn new skills and pursue different hobbies. Teach her the role it can play in her life. This will not only help her in becoming a versatile person, but also make her a humble person.
There is a possibility that you will be a perfect role model but still your child may not mark up to your expectations. As disappointing as it may feel, accept it! Every person is different, some bloom early and others not so soon. In any case, respect wishes and limitations of your children.