Recently, a friend mentioned in passing that her three year old had said to her, “Put your phone down Mummy and play with me.” My friend confided, that this was a reality check, as she realised she had been half parenting – that her focus had become her phone and social media instead of her child.
I’m confident this is not an isolated scenario, as I have since discussed the comment with other parents in the gym, who have related similar conversations or statements made by their children. My own son, in a frustrated tone has said to me,”Mummy, let’s play NOW!” When I have been preoccupied by my phone.
This made me consider our philosophy at the gym – healthy role modelling and leading by example. Yes, at Family First Fitness we do this, but what about the rest of our time we spend with our children?
What we do every minute of everyday in front of our children is setting examples of what ‘grown ups’ do. How we respond, how we engage with others, how we react to situations.
Many bystanders are quick to judge a child engrossed in technology – but you only have to look in any coffee shop, any school car park, terrifyingly – even behind the wheel, to see adults, just as consumed with technology.
When we consider the role modelling we are presenting to our kids, why not consider how simple it is to put a spin on the situation and be a healthy role model! What a simple way to prepare our children for a happy, healthy and fulfilled future. LEAD BY EXAMPLE!
When we talk about leading by example – there are a range of ways to do this. Here are my Top 5 ‘Lead by Example’ tips – AND I’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOURS, so please, send them in!
- Have time away from technology. Our phones and tablets are amazing, but they also stop us from being ‘in the moment’. You don’t need to take thousands of photos of your kids going down the slide, why not go down the slide after them!? My son loves it when I take the time to play in the park with him!
- Eat the food you want your children to eat. I was out to lunch the other day and saw parents order a fruit salad and glass of water for their child, only to then order a burger, chips with soft drink for themselves. Reading this, it’s obvious to see the, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’, example happening here. Sometimes, reading it in black and white is all it takes for us to realise the pattern we’re setting and make a positive change.
- Move your body! We are becoming a society of increasing overweight people, and although we can attribute this to diet, it also has a lot to do with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles – that is, sitting on our butts all day! Go for a bike ride as a family, play at the park with the kids, kicko the footy or throw a ball, play chasey – whatever it is that gets you off your backside and showing your children that an active lfe is a happy life that includes family time and positive interactions with others!
- Be a kid! That’s right, enjoy your children and the excuse they give you to be a mermaid or to dance like an octopus! Take the time to do some painting, build a sandcastle or prepare a healthy morning tea together One day, they won’t want to hang out with you, so let’s make the most of it while they do!
- Don’t use technology as a babysitter. Television is a quick, easy and convenient distraction that lets us get things done. Why not consider a, not so quick – but far more healthy activity to engage your child. What are you doing? Can they help?
Make them the peg people at the line, the bubble people at the sink, the stirring or chopping people in the kitchen.even better, make the jobs a game! Doing some weeding in the garden? Make them the ‘bucket assistants’ and of course it’s a race to fill the bucket with weeds.
Winning – they are now running around outside and exercising while you are getting jobs done!
It’s hard work being a parent – and with this job comes GREAT responsibility – we are helping to shape our children as future adults, literally!
They are the next generation who will be our contributors – some will be our leaders, others will be the hard workers who help keep the world ticking over. So instead of just watching them grow up, be part of that growth and lead by example.
Stay awesome everyone