Did you ever notice when you board a plane that the flight attendant gives directions on what to do in case of a loss in cabin pressure? Parents are instructed to secure their own oxygen mask before putting masks on their children. Did you ever stop and think about what those directions mean? Parents first; kids next.
Parents first…hmmm. We accept it, no questions asked, on a plane – so why not so much in our daily lives?
Maybe it’s because it just feels wrong to put our kids anywhere other than the #1 place in our minds. But let’s think about it for a minute. Maybe by putting yourself first you are actually placing your kids in the top spot. Look at these examples…as parents:
- We eat (mostly) healthy food and get lots of (or at least some) exercise so our kids will follow suit.
- We (try to) respond calmly to difficult situations (most of the time) so our kids learn that calmness is the way to go.
- We (almost always) take a moment before speaking so our kids learn to settle their emotions before choosing their words.
- We (could do better on this one but) keep our phones and tablets away from the table at mealtime so our kids learn the value of family mealtimes.
We see that role-modelling works in those scenarios, so why not try it for teaching our kids the importance of making yourself a priority in your life?
It only takes a minute:
Show your kids that you love and respect yourself so they will learn to do the same. What a novel idea! Here’s a quick how-to:
- Breathe – long, cleansing breaths. It seems simple, but there is science to prove that it works!
- Make healthy food, exercise and a good night’s sleep normal parts of your everyday life.
- Do things you enjoy just because you want to – you don’t need a reason.
- Try new things. Challenge yourself – take a shot at something you think you can’t do.
- Surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you feel good about yourself.
- Notice and point out the beauty that surrounds you every day; be grateful.
- Participate in family and community customs, traditions and events.
- Ask for and accept help from friends, family and your community.
- Forgive yourself and others and learn from mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.
Above all: love yourself – it’s contagious. Your kids will catch it from you!
What are you going to do for yourself today?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)