We’re already role models for our kids. The old adage, “do as I say and not as I do,” just doesn’t fly. It’s a fact that children learn more from what we do than what we say. As parents, whether we like it or not, every time we say something, take an action or have a reaction to someone or something, our children are watching and learning. So, setting a positive example as much as we can is the best way to teach our children about health and safety. Following are some examples of ways to model health and safety for kids of all ages:
Wear a helmet
In the summer months, when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard, make sure everyone in your family is wearing a helmet, not just the kids. Helmet rules apply for winter sports like skiing, sledding, ice skating and snowboarding too.
When crossing the street, walk to the crosswalk. Never cross in the middle of the street.
Wear a seatbelt
Whether you are driving or riding, model passenger safety byalwayswearing a seatbelt.
Model safe driving
When your teen is learning to drive, sign a family agreement together to not engage in risky behaviors like speeding, impaired or distracted driving.
Reduce screen time
If you are struggling to get your kids off the computer or TV, offer other options. Plan a family game night, an art project, listen to music or read a book. It is just as important for adults to unplug as it is for kids.
It is easier to get your kids moving if you are, too. Plan outdoor activities you can do together, like a walk in the evening, a game of kickball or a bike ride.
Choose healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables. Show your kids what healthy snack options look like and how to construct a healthy meal. Sit down and share meals and snacks together as often as possible.
Setting a positive example for your child is a powerful way to teach them to be safe and healthy. And, it’s good for you, too!
Katie Horrigan is manager of the Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program and director of Community Education and Outreach, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services.