Children learn about the world by observing their surroundings. It’s not surprising that at eight months, children begin imitating others through facial expressions and hand gestures. Parents quickly become their child’s guide to navigating different situations. A Gallup study found that 71 percent of teens say their social and political ideology is the same as their parents. With so much influence, it’s important to consider how to be a great role model for children.
Model Good Technology Practices
When it comes to tech usage, teens are often criticized for overusing. It’s just as easy to blame Generation Y for their tech habits as it is to forget that they are learned behaviors.
According to The Journal of Child and Family Studies, children spend more time with TV sets, game devices, and gadgets, when their parents use the media too. Parents have the opportunity to cultivate a healthy relationship between their children and technology by using their own devices as an example.
Consider using media together as a family to create healthy habits. Foster an honest relationship with technology and each other by sharing online profiles and shutting the screens down during meals and at bedtime.
Spend Time Together
Families are busy, but designating a day to be with each other is important. Children are formed by their environment and the people around them. When we teach children how to develop healthy relationships with each other, they are more likely to pick up healthy habits in the future.
Spend a night cooking dinner, or reading a book before bedtime to foster a strong bond with kids.
Help Children Form Their Own Opinion
While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, independence should always be encouraged. Children absorb a significant amount of data from the internet, TV, books, and news. Sorting out fact from fiction, and beliefs from non-beliefs can be difficult.
Allowing children to express themselves and asking thought-provoking questions will encourage them to think for themselves.
Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk
Children are perceptive. Take time to observe your own behavior. Discuss times when you were wrong and what could have been done differently to teach your children to do the same.
Children learn best from observing their parents. From completing chores to fulfilling promises, parents set the standard of expectations. Holding children accountable for their actions will build character and respect.
Being a great role model is a wonderful (yet, difficult) part of parenting. Spending time with your children and navigating the world together will give them the guidance they need. And, don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way!
Do you monitor your own behaviors with your kids in mind?
What sorts of technology best practices do you have that you hope they imitate?
Erin Navaro, an Ohio native, is a young professional who works with older adults, supporting them in every stage of their care. Curious about the world, Erin has lived and worked in Tanzania and India, finding inspiration from the people and cultures that have hosted her along the way. To see what’s next, connect with her on LinkedIn.