~Later, she puts her doll baby to sleep. "Now lay down and be quiet. It bed time. No crying or I shut the door."
Needless to say, she listens to everything we say and watches everything we do. Good and bad. Some of the stuff she repeats is cute. Some of it makes the grown ups in the house cringe and realize we need to try a little harder to pay attention to how we behave.
When you were growing up, did you pay attention to the lectures? Or did you watch how your parents acted when no one else was around? Which spoke louder to you?
Our kids are watching everything we do. Yes, that is a lot of pressure but it is also what we signed up for when we became parents. It's no longer enough to excuse poor choices with "that's just how I am" or "this doesn't have anything to do with my kids". Once you create another life, your own life ceases to be just about you anymore. And part of your role as a mom is to lead your kids by example.
Here are some ways you can do that:
- Use positive language. Sometimes we don't realize how negative we are. Instead of saying "something bad always happens to me" try saying "it's ok, we will get through this". Instead of saying no to your child all the time, use different words or phrases including "maybe later", why don't we try this instead?", etc. Save "no" for times that you really need to get a point across or forbid a certain behavior.
- Practice gratitude. We will be talking more about gratitude later in the year but for now, I want to point out that counting your blessings is the best way to turn a bad day around. The old saying is true "there is always, always something to be thankful for". Encourage your kids, even the little ones, to tell you something they are thankful for each day. Get them in the habit at an early age.
- Avoid arguing in front of your child. If you and your spouse or boyfriend need to argue about something, take it outside or wait until your children aren't around to discuss it. Kids quickly pick up on tension and anger and it can leave them feeling insecure and stressed. If you fight in front of them it sends the message that yelling is how you express anger and that being right is more important than being in right relationship with those you care about.
- Enlist your child's help from an early age. A toddler is not too young to help pick up their toys and put them in the toy box. Make it a game or sing the Clean Up song. Teaching them responsibility and a sense of satisfaction from completing a task while getting the toys put away is a win-win.
- Be good to yourself. Kids need to see their mama take care of themselves and make choices that show that you respect and value yourself. Don't settle for less than you deserve, don't sell yourself short and don't engage in any self harming behavior. One of the best ways to show your kids you love them is to love their mama too.