Our children look to us to be role models and leaders. It’s important to lead by example and take the high road when serving as models for our children.
There are endless lessons we can teach them as they make their way through life, but here are some important ones.
1. “When They Go Low, We Go High.”
Michelle Obama said it best. Teach your children that when people take the low road, the best thing to do is to take the high road. Emotions can take over logical thinking. When this happens, doing the right thing can become the most challenging thing to do. As a reflection of your character, the best choice is to “go high.” Modeling this behavior for your children will help remind them to “go high” when others “go low”.
2. Embrace Creative Expression.
Writing, music, and the arts are all forums for creativity and self-expression.
What are your children passionate about?
Do they have a venue to express themselves?
Encouraging creative activities such as: reading, writing, music, and the arts can support your child in developing confidence and self-esteem, learning self-discipline, how to think outside of the box, how to persevere, and how to develop tools for self-care. These expressive activities can help with self-reflection, stress relief, and deeper thinking and understanding of oneself. Encouraging your children to creatively express themselves will help them navigate through life.
3. We All Have Different Journeys and Lenses.
It’s important to teach our children that people will make assumptions without knowing the whole truth. People will gossip, judge you, and misunderstand you. People might bully or cyberbully you. Teach them that these things are not a reflection of who they are. Teach them to stay true to themselves and their truth. It’s important for them to understand we all have different journeys and lenses and not everyone will understand their journey and lens.
4. Be Mindful.
Mindfulness is purposeful attention and awareness. It can be learned and practiced. Teaching our children the art of mindfulness will benefit them in many ways. They will learn how to breathe, gain an awareness of their body and emotions, process their thoughts without distraction, relieve anxiety, connect with themselves, learn to self-soothe, and develop compassion.
There are many mindfulness tools out there. YouTube is a great free resource in searching for guided mindfulness meditations.
There are also some great apps to support mindfulness:
Stop, Breathe, & Think is an app that focuses on different session topics. Some sessions focus on breathing, gaining resilience, connecting with your body, broadening your perspective, and healing.
Another great app is Headspace for kids. This app focuses on breathing, visualizations, and meditations.
5. Manage Your Emotions.
It’s important for us to model control over our emotions, so our children learn to control their emotions.
There are many tips to teach children how to manage their emotions.
-Identify the emotion, “I am feeling angry.”
-Identify the reason, “I am feeling angry because she hurt my feelings”
-Verbalize what you’re feeling
-Communicate directly if the emotion involves other people
-Brainstorm what would be helpful in order to move forward and heal from this emotion
-Pause and breathe
-Take a break
-Pray or meditate
-Spend time outside
We can teach our children to control their emotions so their emotions don’t control them.
6. Own Your Choices and Mistakes.
There are many opportunities in life where you are forced to make a choice. Sometimes we make the right choice and sometimes we don’t. Making the wrong choice can lead to a valuable learning opportunity and chance to make growth. Teaching our children to own their choices helps them learn responsibility. It also helps them in making repairs to relationships. Teaching them to own their mistakes will help them make better choices in the future. It’s important for them to understand that mistakes are not failures, they are feedback.
There are countless lessons we can teach our children as they navigate their way through life. Some of the important ones are, teaching them to take the high road, embrace their journey and self-expression, be mindful, manage their emotions, and own their choices and mistakes.
We can lead by example in guiding them to make the right choice, but also teach them to embrace the learning opportunities for the times when they don’t.
-The Teaching Stepmom