Lead By Example: Practical Tips For Parents

Guest post written by Elena Stewart

Most parents want the absolute best for their children. You want your children to live a vibrant childhood, and when you imagine your kids growing up, you probably like to think of them achieving their goals and living happy, healthy lives. 

A healthy life, both now and in the future, begins with you. The following tips from Mind of Malaka can help you become a role model that inspires your children to live their best lives.

Prioritize Overall Health

When it comes to any habit, healthy or unhealthy, kids look to their parents as role models. Allowing your child to choose an unhealthy diet can lead to catastrophic health consequences, even at a young age. 

As UnlockFood explains, parents set the example children naturally follow. If you don’t care for your health, why would your kids care about theirs? Rather than choosing fast food, make it a point to prepare healthy on-the-go meals for hectic days out. Simple meals like casseroles and soups can be satisfying and flavorful family solutions on busy evenings at home.

Similarly, when parents engage in physical activity, youngsters are more likely to follow suit. When you take your children to a park for exercise, lead by example. Join in the fun, go for a hike or take your family for a bike ride. Rather than spending your evenings in front of the television, engage in a more physical pursuit. Even yard work or household chores can get you moving, and you’ll simultaneously be accomplishing other items on your to-do list.

Dedication to a healthy lifestyle extends, of course, into your spiritual life. The computer programming expression, “Garbage in, garbage out,” can apply in all of these lifestyle aspects. Be sure you’re feeding your mind and spirit healthy information in order to have a healthy output, and to set the right example for your children. 

Be Yourself at Home

The more open you are with your kids, the more likely they will look at you as a role model. And as Today’s Parent points out, it’s important to keep conversations on a level your kids can understand. Stories and information should always be age-appropriate, and keep in mind that it’s okay to let your children know about the times you have struggled. Tell them your dreams and goals. Your career, education and religious ideals are all important. Better understanding those forces that shape your choices will help them embrace the right path for themselves. 

Your children are never too young to discuss their future goals. And just like with other aspects of life, if you have career or education goals of your own, be a role model and follow them. Parents can return to school and fulfill their dreams to set an example. You can also be a role model as a working professional. Punctuality, professionalism and a strong work ethic are always ideal qualities that show them what it takes to be successful. Or, if you’re ready to move up the ladder, let them know what you’re doing to achieve the promotion you deserve. 

Develop a Goal Formula

As the role model, you teach your kids how to set goals and to achieve them. Children may not understand how to achieve a goal right away. In fact, it can take a lot of practice. ZenBusiness explains that you want to start with reasonable goals. Find something your youngsters may struggle with. This could be a passion of theirs, or it could be a life skill. For example, if they are struggling with their musical instrument or having trouble saving money, you can focus on either of these things.

Focus on the problem, set an achievable goal, and then develop steps that your children can use to accomplish the goal. Try to come up with a system so that you and your kids can assess their progress towards the goal. Remain positive and encouraging.

When your kids are little, you are their world. They learn how to perceive and interact with the world based on your behavior. If you do not set a positive example, they will have a tougher time learning how to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. To be a better role model, set a healthy example, be yourself, and develop a formula to teach them how to chase their dreams.

Elena Stewart is a certified life coach specializing in the teachings of Brené Brown, Danielle LaPorte, and Marie Forleo. Through one-on-one coaching sessions and career mentoring, she helps women (and men!) jumpstart their careers. Visit for more information about Elena and how she can help you achieve your career goals!