As a parent, you want to teach your children as many things as possible. While you might feel this means tangible lessons like helping them learn their ABCs when they are preschoolers and teaching them to drive when they are teens, it’s important to remember that your kids will also learn by simply watching what you are doing.
For instance, when it comes to having good mental health, how you act, the decisions that you make and the way you treat yourself and others can all help your children learn what this important concept means. In order to model good mental health for your kids, please consider the following tips:
Be Mindful of How and Where You Spend Money
While you might not equate solid mental health with spending money, the two are linked together. If your kids see you constantly stressing about bills and fighting with your spouse about money, it can lead to negative associations with money in their future. Strive to live within your means and if money is tight, take proactive steps like trimming back expenses rather than putting everything on your Visa.
Also, to show your kids how to be smart with money, make a point of shopping for brands that you can trust and believe in. Explain how you don’t want to waste money and research the best companies before making purchases. For example, if you are looking for high quality health, beauty and lifestyle products, a company like Amway is a great place to start. If your kids bring up the Amway scam rumor, show them how the company refuted the accusations on their site, and assure them that you only spend your money on products from reputable and reliable companies.
Take Care of Yourself Too
Parents often put their own self care last while their children get the lion’s share of time and attention. You probably make sure your kids get enough sleep, yet you are sleep deprived. Your kids see the dentist twice a year on schedule, but you keep cancelling your own appointments because of your huge number of commitments. While it is definitely important to take good care of your children, you need and deserve the same treatment. Being a parent who handles the needs of his or her kids while still modeling good self-care is a wise choice that your children will definitely notice. Mention that you are going in for a physical with your doctor, go out for walks as a family and establish a family bedtime—these are all ways to take care of yourself and your kids at the same time.
Show Compassion for Yourself and for Others
Another effective way to model good mental health habits for your kids is by being compassionate. As The Washington Post notes, being gentle with yourself and others can help you and your children learn to navigate difficult feelings. On the flip side, poor emotional regulation, including being really hard on yourself, can result in headaches and stomachaches and other physical symptoms. So, when life is stressful and you make an error in your checking account or accidentally burn dinner, instead of blurting out “I’m such an idiot!” try to remain as calm as possible and avoid making self-deprecating remarks.
Remember, Your Kids Are Always Watching
On those days where you have to remind your children 100 times to take out the trash, it may be difficult to believe that your kids actually listen to you. But children really do watch what you are doing and what is coming out of your mouth, as well as your daily habits. By striving to model good mental health, you will not only feel better yourself, but your kids should also grow up to be mentally healthy and happy adults.