We are simple creatures after all.
It breaks my heart to see children that are not very active, eating poor food choices and missing that beautiful glow of just being a rambunctious kid. That glow you get from climbing trees and digging in the dirt to China (well from Canada we dug to China through the glorious slugs – perhaps from Australia we can dig to Africa!). I think it all starts with us, parents and we need to change our mindset to teach and show our children!
We are role models, to our children and those children around us. Our children learn negotiation tactics by age 3 (if not earlier), they know exactly what they want and how to get it very fast and are super intelligent from an early age. They pick up on our habits, language and lifestyle through osmosis from birth and want to be us. This is a huge responsibility and I think we might forget this sometimes trying to cope and navigate through our crazy hectic lives. I know I did and am now really trying to consciously think about my actions, language and way of being as I know it has an affect on my kids.
My theory is we all need to start becoming those awesome people that we want our kids to become. Are you inactive or keep meaning to get to the gym? Your kids see, hear and feel that inaction and learn your excuses. Get off your butt, grab a friend and go for a walk or even a run! Push yourself and raise your standards as you know you’re capable of sooooo much more! Don’t compare yourselves to others and find some new people to hang out with that share your enthusiasm – get out of your comfort zone! Baby steps or bloody giant steps if you know you can do it! Why not, you have nothing to lose and sooooo much to gain!
Children learn about healthy relationships with people (and food and life) through watching those around them. I’m being more considerate of my partner and want to show my kids what a healthy and loving relationship looks like. Even when I’m tired, over-r-whelmed and irritable, there are little things I can do to get out of my funk faster and appreciate every moment that I have with my partner and family. Otherwise, what’s the point? The result is our family is communicating better and we can discuss anything to show them they are in a comfortable and safe environment.
We eat a beautiful healthy diet of real food and our kids are a part of this getting their hands dirty and helping. My 10 year old even asked if he could make dinner every Friday! Hell yeah! Even if your kids don’t jump at the idea of making dinner once a week, you can show them what eating well looks like. You can discuss healthy food choices and smart food swaps. For example, do you need the chocolate cake or maybe you can have peanut butter on apple (my favourite of course as long as there are no nut allergies!) instead. Do you all drink enough water? Show your kids what this looks like! My kids love having eggs for breakfast, even during the week because we make sure there’s enough time to do this as this is better than cereal and toast all the time and I love that they ask for healthy options! Ensure you have healthy snacks that are easy to grab in the fridge – for everyone, you included and make healthy choices becomes easy and automatic!
Some screen time is fine, especially after running around and playing for hours, but everything needs to be in balance. Food, sleep, screens, exercise – if they become out of balance things become out of whack and everything falls out of alignment. Apparently all we need in life as humans is LOVE and BALANCE. Makes sense to me.*
Our newest family rules follow this theory completely and are simple and cut to the core. This is all I want for my children to be now and in the future. Let’s teach all our kids these rules – ‘Be Kind.’ and ‘Be You.’.
*Thanks to John Woden’s amazing insight about Love and Balance in his interview with Tony Robbins that planted this seed for me.