Being the best parent you can possibly be isn’t easy. But when you find yourself face-to-face with other, seemingly better parents that have that perfect mum body or seem to have that perfect relationship with their children, we can’t help but feel a little bit envious. But when we think about our lifestyle in a holistic manner, it’s about the examples we set for our children, but also, for ourselves. With this in mind, what are the things we can do to ensure that we are setting a good example for our children by having a healthy and balanced lifestyle ourselves?
Being a pillar of health
As easy as it is to take our children to yoga classes or get some exercise, sometimes they just don’t want to play ball! So we think that in order to be a better example, we need to be healthier as well. And while a little vice is okay on occasion, when our children become teenagers, we have to remember that if we do these things as the norm, they’ll think it’s fine, even though we know it’s not healthy. Something like smoking, for example, is is a habit that needs stopping ASAP. You can do this easily; there are plenty of ecig kits that you can purchase, getting you into the habit of minimising those unhealthy vices. And yes we might feel we need these little vices to keep us sane, but if we want to set the right example, we’ve got to practice what we preach.
Be disciplined in yourself
On the topic of practising what you preach, being disciplined isn’t just something that you can do for the sake of your children, but it’s something that every single one of us can embody within ourselves. Discipline is about setting boundaries, not just so our children are protected, but it’s about the right mindset in which to keep on the straight and narrow. Being disciplined in yourself is crucial especially if you have unhealthy habits, but if you want your children to be headstrong, it’s never too late to learn how to be disciplined in yourself. It can be a long journey to get it right; it’s not something that can be done overnight. But you can start little practices to help you keep focus. Discipline is something that is taught, either through meditation, or exercise. And exercise as a perfect example. Because if you want to get fit, think about sticking to a regime, and discipline will soon follow.
It’s quality time over quantity time
As we want to make sure that we get the best from our children and ourselves, we can feel that on occasion, the busy world stops doing the things that we went with our children. Think about quality time, and what you do with your children. Instead of making it all about the number of hours that you spend with them. We don’t all have the time to ensure our children have our attention every minute of every day. But when you do have the time to spend with them properly, make it count. When they are young, they will want your attention all the time but if you can make the quality time memorable, this will stick in their mind more. It’s a very hard balance to maintain, especially if you do something like working at home but by ensuring you focus on quality and not quantity in every aspect of your parenting life, you will head in the right direction.
Stop, take a breath
Nobody’s perfect, and we can’t claim to be the greatest parent of all time all the time. But we have to give ourselves a pat on the back so we can head in the right direction. Being a parent isn’t just about the skills we learn, it is about the life that we lead, but also understand that if we make a mistake, we accept it, learn from it, and move on. It’s hard when you find that your child has done something that you think stems directly from you, whether they have been aggressive in school or done something out of character. But if we understand that they are their own person and that we are not able to control every aspect of their life after a while, we can start to learn how to be a better guide, rather than someone who has to force them in a certain direction. If you stop, take a breath, and realise that it’s all about the long game, this links intrinsically with how you become a better parent as part of your lifestyle. It’s not just the tasks you need to master.