The choices we make directly affect the choices our children make.
It seems like a simple concept. It makes perfect sense. Model the behavior that you want your children to mimic, because they will mimic that behavior.
The reality, of course, is that life is busy. Some of us work outside of the home, some of us work from home, some of us have four kids, some of us have two…and no matter how you slice it, we are all staring down an enormous pile of laundry at the end of the week.
And modeling those lovely behaviors that we fully intended to model, like eating at least one salad every single day and reading at least one book per week, doesn’t always pan out.
Sometimes we get so busy with the day-to-day tasks at hand, that we fall short on time with the always-eating-healthy-foods thing and the reading to promote a love of reading thing. Honestly, I’m not sure that my kids want to sit and watch me read…how boring is that?
But these things are important. We need to model healthy eating, reading, exercise, and healthy coping strategies for our kids. We need to show them that salad is tasty, reading is fun, regular exercise makes you feel good, and an argument with a friend isn’t actually the end of the world.
We need to show them how to make good choices in all areas of their lives. It’s not enough to say it…we have to model it too.
When life gets busy and I find myself running from one thing to next and my nightly worry list seems to grow by the minute, I take a step back. I think about the best way to get back to basics.
Getting back to basics by prioritizing my little family above all else always sets me on the right course.
We don’t have to attend every party if it means my son misses his very important naptime.
It’s ok to spend the kids’ allotted TV time watching it with them while on the elliptical. I need my exercise, and they need to see me exercising.
I can show them my love of reading by telling them about the books I’m reading. They don’t have to sit around watching me. They can look through my stack of books on my bedside table instead.
I can prepare in advance so that I do have a salad to eat while they eat their dinners at the very early hour of 5pm.
And family meals can be held anytime. Breakfast works for our family, and that’s just what we do.
We can bake and cook together…which is a great way to spend time together (with the added bonus of a little learning on the side).
We can spend our precious weekend time just being a family. We don’t need to fit in play dates, plans, and events just because that works for others.
My kids can help me with that enormous pile of laundry. They enjoy sorting, folding towels, and helping me load the washer. And we get to chat and be silly while we complete the chores.
I can tell them when I’m sad or frustrated and show them how I cope. This, alone, provides a lifetime of skills for them.
And I can slow down and say no when I need to…because my family is my priority. And that will never change.
Life is busy. Life can be hard. Life can be overwhelming. But getting back to basics, and modeling the skills that I want my children to acquire, will always make the world feel right again.
Get back to basics. You won’t regret it.