This post is about how you as a parent can be a better role model for your children, in turn, becoming a better parent. While we are all trying to make the holidays memorable for our kids, this tool becomes especially relevant.
Think about how many activities you are doing this holiday season that reflect what you did as a child. Baking a certain cookies, eating traditional foods, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, or going to church. When you engage in the activity, what are the feelings that you feel? Usually good ones, this is why you repeat the activity.
This repeated behavior is the product of Modeling. Here are some key points to think about, concerning Modeling as a parent.
- The most productive time to model the values you want repeated is when your child is in early childhood (ages 2-5 years).
- Values are Caught not Taught.
- Attending church, being thankful for gifts or serving others are all based on values.
- Telling your child to be thankful is never helpful. Modeling being thankful really works!
- Be sure whatever value you want to teach is connected to joy and excitement. Your child will repeat the behavior.
One of the traditions that my children enjoy is opening one gift on Christmas Eve. This is something I did as a child and I really enjoyed it! Therefore, I wanted my kids to also do it. So it was always an exciting moment! Lo and behold, even though our kids are adults and we pick names instead of giving each person a gift, we had to work around the tradition of opening a gift on Christmas Eve. FYI, it meant I purchased more gifts, go figure!
The best thing about the tool of Modeling is that it is fun! There are no consequences, just a lot of excitement and smiles. Here is a handout from the Love and Logic Institute that outlines more about Modeling. My challenge to you is to think of those key traditions you want your children to repeat and have fun this week modeling them with great joy and excitement!
Please share what traditions you want to pass on to your children!
One last thing, modeling also works for chores, eating vegetables, and staying calm when you are angry. Not too shabby.