As a mom, knowing that you have young eyes and ears watching and listening to you all of the time can be daunting. From toddlers who gleefully repeat the salty words you exclaimed when you stubbed your toe really hard to teens who may seem like they barely pay attention to you but are actually watching you with hawk-like intensity 24/7, being a great role model is not always easy.
Fortunately, it is not as difficult as you might think to set a great example, which in turn can help you raise well-adjusted kids who are polite, empathetic and kind to others. Here are a few ways you can do it.
Put the phone down
If your kids are constantly attached to their electronics, it might be hard to accept that they probably learned this behavior from you. Chances are, you have a smartphone and you are on it checking emails, texting and posting updates on social media pretty frequently. In order to pay more attention to the real world that is by your side, and be a good example to your kids in the process, make a conscious effort to reduce your phone time. Those texts to your BFF can probably wait until your little ones are in bed, and the small beings you share your house with need you more than your online buddies on Facebook. Of course, there will certainly be times that you have to keep your phone handy, like if your teen is out with friends or you are waiting for an important call from the family doctor or your boss. To make checking your messages as quick as possible, you might consider upgrading your phone to a model like the Samsung Galaxy S7 from T-Mobile; its cutting-edge technology allows you to view your messages quickly in an emergency and then get right back to hanging with your kids.
Listen when they talk to you
Yes, kids can sometimes chatter endlessly about a wide variety of topics, and there will be days when you would give your right arm for 10 minutes of blessed silence. However, being engaged and an active listener is essential to making sure that you maintain open communication with your kiddos. Recognize that your child wanting to talk to you is a great sign — they will probably grow up to be teens who still want to communicate with mom, which in this day and age is essential. In addition to simply listening to your kids, ask them regularly how things are going, and answer any questions they have about any topic as honestly as they can. As a bonus, parents who are great listeners and make an effort not to tune out their kids when they are talking will probably be rewarded with children who also listen to them.
Follow the rules you set for them
One of the best ways to be a great role model for your children is to follow the same rules you have established for them. If your seemingly mouthy tween or teen wonders why she should have to put her shoes away when yours are under the kitchen table, try to see past the attitude and realize that she may have a point. If you do not tolerate whining or yelling from your kids, refrain from doing the same when your favorite team loses or your spouse gets on your nerves. When your children see you following household rules and being kind and patient, they will be more inclined to do the same.