When you hear the words "bad habits," your thoughts may turn to drinking in excess, smoking cigarettes, and the like. But once kids come into the picture, every move you make is influencing their actions, including those previously innocent-enough vices. A careless profanity here and there is no big deal for your average adult, but no one wants to take responsibility for the toddler shouting obscenities on the playground! Here, 10 everyday habits for moms and dads to ditch.
Your Tech Addiction
Every family has its own philosophy when it comes to comes to kids and technology, but we can pretty much all agree that being tethered to a device 24/7 is not a healthy approach. With that in mind, take a look at your own tech habits. If you're checking your iPhone every couple of minutes, it's going to be tough to tell your kids that they're not allowed to do the same.
Whether you're a mom to girls or boys, the key to your kids having healthy self-esteem is leading by example . Don't bash your body, weight, wrinkles, or anything else about yourself in front of them.
If you are trying to lose weight through diet and/or exercise, put emphasis on the healthy foods that you're consuming and how strong and energetic you feel, as opposed to the numbers on the scale.
Calling This a Meal
The catch-22 here is that the busier you are, the more likely you are to eat and run (or worse, skip a meal and run). And moms are masters at multitasking. But scarfing down a doughnut . . . er, granola bar in the car does not a balanced meal make. Go for a little extra effort to set an example and nurture healthy habits surrounding mealtime.
Being a Grown-Up Mean Girl
As we all know, cliques don't disappear after high school. While you can't control the gossip session that's going on about another mom in the stands of your child's softball game, you can opt out of it.
Allowing your kids to see you speak in a negative way about another parent, child, teacher, or anyone, really, will inevitably lead to them thinking it's OK to follow suit.
Hey, speed racer, slow down! Putting the pedal to the metal and pushing the limits of your speedometer is never a smart idea, but the last thing you want to do is put your kids in danger. And even if you get home safely, risking a run-in with the cops doesn't set the best example either.
Slipping in a swear word or two while you're chatting with a friend may not seem like a big deal before your babe is talking, but there's no one out there as impressionable as a toddler. They're soaking up everything you say, and even if they don't repeat it immediately, you never know what the next word out of those little mouths is going to be!
OK, so this one is probably more of a by-product of parenting than something you'll have to take the initiative on. But if you're in the rare (and fortunate!) minority of parents whose kids sleep late, setting a good example about how to get your day started is important. Being the last one to school every day doesn't set great groundwork for their level of motivation in the future.
Turning On the TV — and Leaving It On All Day
This is one that I became acutely aware of as soon as there was a baby in the house. On weekends, we'd turn on the TV to watch the news, and somehow it would end up staying that way all day, even if no one was watching. Terrible! While we've all got our favorite shows, there's no need for the constant background noise — for anyone.
Too Much Fun in the Sun
There's nothing more family friendly than a trip to the beach, but if catching rays is one of your guilty pleasures, it's time to cover up. Outdoor play (with plenty of sunscreen and UV protection) is great — seeing mom lather up in oil and burn to a crisp? Not so much.
Little White Lies
Be honest: Have you ever asked your kids to keep quiet about the quick stop you made at the mall on the way home from the doctor's office? Or to say they have plans the day of a not-so-great friend's birthday party? It's not easy for kids to distinguish the difference between a "little white lie" and flat-out dishonesty, so simplify things by just being truthful — always.