Being a positive role model for a child is a rewarding experience because it allows you to make a difference in a young person's life. Children learn by following the example set by older people in their lives, so being consistent with your actions is very important, according to the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. You can benefit by feeling good about the job that you have done influencing a young person's life, while the child will receive endless benefits from the example that you set.
Develop Social Skills
A child knows very little about socialization when she is born, and she develops these skills by watching others, reports the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. The child is more influenced by your actions than your words, as she will learn how to interact with others by watching how you do so. You can become a positive role model by showing respect for others, including the child. Your interactions with other people are the first examples of social etiquette that the child will witness, making it very important that you act in a cordial manner.
Teach Healthy Habits
The child's health should be of the utmost importance, so you should set a good example with your own health. Organize a family mealtime to ensure that the child is eating nutritious meals, suggests KidsHealth. Family meals set a good example because they show the value of eating healthy foods. If you eat these healthy foods, the child is likely to follow suit. Exercise is also important for a child's health, so you should make exercise a part of your regular routine. Children who witness their parents exercising and playing sports are more likely to do so themselves, suggests HealthyChildren.org.
Much of a child's self-image comes from his parents, especially in his early years, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Children learn about themselves and how others perceive them through the actions of their parents, so it is important that you allow them to see themselves in a positive manner. You can be a role model by playing and having fun with your child so that he sees himself as a fun person. If he learns that others enjoy being around him, he will have a much easier time adjusting to new situations.
Prevent Negative Behaviors
Having a solid role model can keep children out of trouble, even if they are exposed to negative adult behavior from non-parents. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that many youths who have access to a positive role model are able to avoid delinquent behaviors like assault, carrying a weapon, selling drugs or getting into trouble with the police, even when they were exposed to adults who did these things. The majority of these youths identified a parent as their main role model, which shows the ability that parents have in keeping their children out of trouble.
- University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension: Being a Role Model for Your Child
- KidsHealth: Family Meals
- HealthyChildren.org: Encouraging Your Child to be Physically Active
- Ask Dr. Sears: 12 Ways to Help Your Child Build Self-Confidence
- Journal of Youth and Adolescence: Negative Adult Influences and the Protective Effects of Role Models - A Study with Urban Adolescents
- Jupiterimages, Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images