WE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE MODELS OUR YOUNG CHILDREN HAVE
I am happy when I see this reflected in the kind words and love shared between my children. I cringe when I see the worst of it in a sharp tone or phrase boomeranged back to me from the mouths of my babes. In any given instant they are the mirror back at me of both my best and worst selves. That is why I thought the following articles/images were so gripping:
|Picture posted on the Title 9 Facebook Page|
The above photo spoke volumes to me. Every time I hear my daughter request fruits and veggies, ask to go on a run with me, or see her take on the challenge of swimming laps across the pool or trying the big kid water slide, I feel like I have done something right in terms of helping her strive to live a healthy, fit and adventurous life. We all know that kids see and hear EVERYTHING and so the best we can do is to show them through action, not just words, and in ALL elements of our lives (work, family, self), what it means to be healthy, happy and successful.
This point was further emphasized in This Article which stressed parent's roles in instilling healthy habits in kids from very early on as a way to have a profound effect on the quality of [their] lives and [their] likelihood of developing major illnesses later in life.... Children who grow up in healthy environments have a built-in advantage. If they have constant access to playgrounds and green spaces, physical activity is more likely to become a way of life. If meals at school and at home are rich in fruits and vegetables, they're more likely to pass on unhealthy snacks and processed foods...Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression....[as well as] high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. We wouldn't wish any of those negative outcomes for our children, much less ourselves, and so there is a huge incentive to get it right, early and often.
In some ways the eating right and working out is the easy stuff. Other elements of healthy lifestyle modeling are harder to do, especially as the pressures of work and the accessibility of information are hard to dial back. Specifically, the impact of screen time on the quality of family life is receiving a lot of attention these days - rightly so. This Article was particularly devastating in the scientific research behind the description of the negative impacts that too much screen time is having on children and families: Technology is becoming a kind of “co-parent;” too much screen time is impeding childhood development; and parents’ obsession with their devices is harming communication with their children and even fracturing families.. When you hear a child say I miss the olden days when families were more important you know that something has gone awry.
I know we can't be perfect all the time, but we are doing A LOT if we keep making the effort to be present and to engage with our kids on multiple levels in embracing a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So much of being a parent is just about showing up, getting dirty and eating the broccoli too. So, go on - be a super model :)