Did you know that your child's brain is literally hard wired to learn from the behavior that we model for them?
For this reason, I firmly believe that as mothers, we have to lead by example. The old saying that goes, "do as I say, not as I do", was uttered many a time in my household growing up, mostly in jest. This way of teaching doesn't work with most children, and especially not with a Spirited Child.
A young child's brain is like a sponge, soaking up what it sees every minute of every day. If you don't believe me, start saying the word 'shit' every day in front of your child and see how long it takes them to repeat it back to you. Not very long I bet. They might not say it in front of you, but they'll likely use it when they stub their toe, or when talking with friends out of earshot.
How I've used this to my advantage
On many occasion, I've used this to my advantage to teach my children something I'd like them to learn. Below are a few examples:
- Eating a whole food diet and explaining why it's good for me
- Meditating in common spaces where my boys could see me
- Writing in my journal daily and telling my boys about what I write
- Explaining when I'm not in a very good mood, and letting them know that I'm working to choose happiness instead
My favorite exampleI think the funniest example of this is the story of how I became a black belt in Kenpo Karate. I started taking karate lessons to get my boys interested because I really wanted them to learn self defense. My oldest son started shortly after I did, and took karate for about three years before he decided he didn't love it like I did. My youngest son never liked the physicality of it, so he only had a lesson or two. By the time my oldest son stopped taking karate, I was already a brown belt and had gone way too far to turn back. So...I kept putting one foot in front of the other until one day I became a black belt, just before my 40th birthday.
How you can apply this
I highly encourage you to think about some ways you'd like your child to behave, and then do your best to model that behavior. It might be something creative like painting, active like daily exercise, or quiet like reading. Make sure they see you do it and be sure to talk to them about why you do those things, how they make you feel, and why they're good for you. This will also have the added benefit of you making more time for yourself to do the things you love. The joy in your smile and the happy energy you bring to these activities will surely make your child take notice.
Please leave a comment below telling me how you are currently leading by example.
In peace and happiness,