Show your kids, don't tell your kids.
Today we are going to talk about something that is kind of a pet peeve of mine, and I have been guilty of it myself as a parent. I am talking about how we expect our kids to do what we say not what we do.
Any experienced parent or nanny will know that this is not how kids learn and work. Right?
I find that when I don’t back up my talk with walk my kids see and know it right away, I can’t fool them, even if I can briefly fool myself that I am not full of it.
Showing our kids that we are real people with flaws and feelings is I think one of the most important things we can do for them. I will explain what I mean.
If my kids say or do something that hurts my feelings, or that hurts me physically, I tell them. If they say something rude or unkind, or act dismissively with epic eye rolls, I tell them how it makes me feel. Not overly dramatic, but letting them know that they are not invisible, that their actions have an impact on people around them is essential for them to grow up to be empathic and kind people. And that is my goal, for sure. When my daughter was in preschool she had a teacher who had four children, and she told me that sometimes her kids made her sad and she would cry in the bathroom. I thought that was awful, both for the mother who got her feelings hurt, and for the children who didn’t get to learn how to express themselves and act towards others. I kept thinking that if she pretends that her kids’ hurtful behavior isn’t hurtful, what is she teaching them? Will they go on thinking that what they did, their behavior did’t impact anyone else? How could it benefit anyone to think they are invisible in a vacuum?
Another example that I remember hearing from a person before they became a parent was how they were going to feed their kids only healthy organic foods, knowing that it was the better choice, but were not going to give up their unhealthy way of eating. If you are eating bad foods, you are setting that example for your kids. It doesn’t matter what you tell them, you are teaching them what they see you do. And of course this goes for nannies too. That’s why it’s so important for families to choose a nanny whose values align with theirs. If a nanny is drinking soda in front of kids in a soda free house, that is not taking advantage of a good teaching moment.
The same goes of course also for moving your body. Expecting children to choose to be active if they see their parents or nanny not making that choice is not going to teach them healthy habits.
But it goes deeper than that. When kids see that you lie, they think it’s ok to lie. If they see your steal, that becomes ok in their world because the person they look to for guidance does it, so it has to be the best choice, right?
Kids who grow up in smoking households are more likely to smoke. When alcohol is abundant and plenty the reach to start using it is shorter.
What I wanted to do with this episode is to invite you to think about the role model you are being for the kids in your lives, whether you are a nanny or a parent. And if you are a parent, how does lifestyle choices and behavior factor into how you choose your children’s caretakers?
It might be worth sitting down and thinking about it. Being really honest with yourself and seeing if there are ways you can tweak the little things you do on a daily basis to make conscious decisions about the things you are really teaching your kids.
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Today’s episode is brought to you by the Mamatoto Pregnancy and Birth course from Mamatoto, the community for conscious mothers where support and community is everything. Take a look at mamatoto.info and see how they can support you.
If you haven’t already, head over to our instagram and follow us at riveranannies. See you next time when we will talk about the fictional nanny Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair. See you then. Bye :)