life advice
3 Ways to Show Your Kids that Anything Is Possible
Actions speak louder than words. Here are three ways you can show your kids how to grow even as you age.

It is probably hard to believe this at times—like when your tween is rolling her eyes at you—but your kids actually do think of you as a role model. Even when we think they are ignoring us, they are closely watching and seeing how we respond to all of life’s challenges.

With that in mind, it is possible to harness this role model power of parenting and show our kids that anything is possible. Here are a few ways we can show our kids that they too can achieve anything in life.

You Are Never Too Old to Learn

Maybe you never went to college and always wished you had, or perhaps you have a two- or four-year degree but are yearning to expand on your education. While you might feel like going back to school will be too difficult—especially since you are already juggling a job, family and more—you can still make it happen with the help of a flexible online school.

Let your kids know that you want to continue your education by signing up for online classes, which not only expands your learning, but it also demonstrates the importance of setting goals and the effort it takes to achieve them. Most curriculum can be offered online, so you can fit it around your existing schedule.

Another way that online classes can help is by providing you with a way to get the education you need for a job you really want. For example, if you are dreaming of working in an optometrist’s office and they require a two-year degree, enroll in an online college or university and let your kids know that they may need to help you with dinner prep a couple of nights a week because you will be busy with school. Furthering your education can also enable you to move up the figurative ladder at your current job by giving you the requisite skills—your kids will see how working hard in an online university allowed you to land that plum managerial job, and even though they may not say it, they will be proud of you.

Make Big Changes, One Small Step at a Time

As the group All Pro Dad notes, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will not only improve our own health, it will set an outstanding example for our kids. If it’s been a while since you have eaten a salad or walked around the neighborhood, you might be tempted to take an all-or-nothing approach to being healthy. Vowing to go to the gym every day for an hour or two and going off of ice cream and cookies cold turkey will probably end up backfiring and cause you to go back to your unhealthy ways.

Your kids will definitely be paying attention as this happens. Instead, let your kids know that you plan on eating better, getting more exercise and losing weight, and that you will do it gradually. Strive to drop one to two pounds a week and try to get 20 minutes of exercise three or four days a week at first. If you eat a lot of takeout, shoot for eating out only one dinner a week instead of three. Communicate with your kids as you meet these goals and let them know when the number on the scale begins to fall. They will learn by example that huge improvements can be made by taking a gradual approach.

Teach Them Self-control by Modeling Patience

When you are running late for work and school, you have a pounding headache and you are stressed about your big presentation to your boss, showing kindness and patience to the slow driver on the road probably seems impossible. But as the website Parent Map suggests, these seemingly small moments can have a huge impact on how your child will respond to stress. Practice compassion and give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Before swearing at the slow driver who is making you late, take a deep breath, bite your tongue and calmly go around the other car.

Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.

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