As parents, I think we sometimes forget that we are the best example for our children. They come into this world knowing nothing. They pretty much grow and learn from us and the experiences we give them.
Last year, while living in San Francisco, I felt that as a family we were good examples for our children, but we had some work to do. The stress of living in a big, busy city, i.e. crowded playgrounds, cramped houses, little neighborhood playing, growing homeless population, and increasing expenses (just to name a few) added a great deal of stress to our lives and in turn, our children’s lives too.
Upon moving to Portland, OR, our lives finally felt manageable and healthy. Stress became nearly non-existant, which made everything else easy and fun. Due to the family-centered neighborhood we live in not only can my husband and I enjoy our running but our boys can safely bike, scooter, walk, and eventually run all around the area.
Cooking meals together was hassle in our old home and now we all make meals together, most days. Earlier in the day, my two boys were “fighting” over cauliflower and this evening they were doing the same over brussel sprouts. Given the pace we were living in SF, those types of fresh vegetables weren’t typically around and now they always are. I made the cauliflower for lunch and my husband made the brussel sprouts for dinner. We both loved what we were making and that love encouraged our kids to eat it too.
Right after dinner, tonight, my almost three year-old wanted to walk on his hands and do a hand stand. As a compromise (since he doesn’t have any gymnastics training yet), we did wheelbarrow around the house, from room to room, multiple times. I imagine that seeing me train my clients in bear crawls, down dog shoulder presses, and all the fun, crazy body weight exercises, encouraged my little guy to experiment with his own body too.
Not only does being an example of healthy behaviors translate to our children, but so does our moods, the way we communicate with one another, expressing our likes and dislikes, our reading, TV, computer, and phone behaviors do as well.
- making healthy smoothies together in the morning
- our daily running
- oohing and ahhing over fresh fruits and vegetables
- giving loving smiles to each other throughout the day
- making donations
- taking care of our bodies
- taking a breath or meditating when we need it
- each person takes a part in making meals and snacks
What do you do to be the example to your kids? I’d love to read it below.