Raising children is a journey filled with difficult and exciting steps, from coaxing your baby to get their first words out to celebrating their first steps, and everything in between, before, and after. Raising and teaching your child to behave and act well, however, doesn’t end at concrete lessons like potty-training might. Rather, your baby will learn plenty about behavior by watching others in their environment—specifically, you.
This is why it’s very important to make sure you’re setting a good example, even when you think it isn’t a learning moment. Remember, when your kid isn’t sleeping or eating, they’re watching and learning. Here are a few ways to lead by example and set a good example for your children in any situation.
Explain Your Choices
When you’re the parent, you’re in charge. This doesn’t mean, however, that “what you say goes,” at least not always. Rather, try making a habit out of explaining your decisions to your kids instead of simply stating rules and choices.
Explaining choices to your kids can help them understand that thought needs to go behind everything they do, and not only that, but that the things that they’re told have a rhyme and reason, they aren’t just orders. This can also help them connect the dots and learn lessons. A time-out justified with “because I said so” doesn’t do much to help your kid learn what behavior to fix or change. Explanation creates learning experiences.
Emotions get the better of us sometimes, it’s natural. Not only that, but hiding emotions isn’t healthy at all. That being said, getting through the tantrum stage—or avoiding it altogether—means showing your kid how to manage their emotions and not let their feelings take over completely.
What does this look like for you? When something makes you angry or upset, take a minute to gather your emotions and react calmly. Seeing you react emotionally and upset may teach your kids that big reactions are okay, and thus, that their tantrums are perfectly acceptable (after all, they see you do it). React calmly around your kids to teach them to react calmly as well.
We all want our children to be kind with others. A great way to teach them to be kind is to set the example and be kind in front of them in any situation. Hold the door open for strangers, say hi to others, help someone with their groceries, pay genuine compliments, and simply be kind whenever and wherever, unprompted.
This can translate into your kid being kind, unprompted, simply because they’ve seen you do it. Treat others the way you would like to be treated and, more importantly, treat others the way you’d like your children to behave.
We hope you benefitted from this post on leading by example and how you can set a good example for your children. Here are some other related articles you may also enjoy: