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Leading by Example: Teaching Your Toddler Starts With You

Leading by Example: Teaching Your Toddler Starts With You

Having children is one of the greatest feelings in your life. From the time they were born, it was love at first sight. As they grow older, your love for them grows as well…then they hit the toddler age, commonly known as the “terrible twos.”

The terrible twos have a bad reputation, and for good reason. Children at this age go through a phase of not wanting to share, getting into everything (since learning to walk), and engaging in crying, kicking, and screaming associated with the dreaded temper tantrums.

The toddler age group is definitely a challenging stage for parenting, but it’s also one of the most important. Toddlers are very impressionable during this age. Their minds are like sponges, and they mimic everything you say and do. You might slip up and say a curse word in front of your toddler, and the next thing you know, that one bad word is the only word they remember, and choose to repeat.

As a parent, you have to be very mindful of what you say and do around them. Doing so will prevent any awkward or embarrassing moments in public or around friends and family! When going through the daily routine of parenting your toddler, make the extra effort to lead by example at all times. Take a look at a few of the areas where you want to be sure you are setting a good example for your children.

Your Use of Manners

There’s nothing worse than a spoiled child who doesn’t have manners. Manners are a learned behaviour. If someone gives your toddler a piece of candy, and they just accept the candy without saying thank you, then that is a behaviour you need to take care of immediately. Most parents will immediately ask their child, “What do you say?” or say, “Tell them thank you.”

Teaching your toddler to say “please” and “thank you” is really a life skill that they will learn and utilise for the rest of their lives, if you start early and consistently reinforce it. It teaches them to not only be appreciative, but also respectful. “Please” and “thank you” are the foundations of good manners that they should learn first, and once they’ve mastered that, then they can move on to Mr. and Mrs., and sir and ma’am.

The Way You Dress

The clothes you wear are a direct reflection of yourself, and how you feel. When you feel good, you tend to dress nice, and take a little more pride in what you put on. When you’re tired, or just not feeling so hot, you tend to put on whatever you can find, and more importantly, whatever is comfortable.

In the eyes of your toddler, you’re their role model, and they want to be just like you, including the way you dress. You don’t have to walk around looking like a nun, but you do want to present yourself in front of your child in a way that is positive, so that that when they try to dress like you, it won’t be terribly embarrassing.

If you wear stylish clothing that presents you in a positive light, then your child will want to dress in the same style of clothing you wear. For toddlers, you want to dress them in clothing that matches their personality, and at that age, personality is typically centred around cute and fun.

Your Habits

Everyone has good habits and bad habits…nobody’s perfect right? Instilling good habits in your toddler is a great way to lead them down the right path that will enrich their lives into adulthood. Certain hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth and washing your hands are habits that they should be learning during this stage in their little lives. These are habits that they learn best when you do it with them, going back to setting the example, so take the time to do as much as you can.

Your toddler will pick up on your habits very quickly, without you even realising it! Sometimes, it can be quite funny because, as a parent, you may not even realise that you’re doing a certain thing until your tiddlers does it in front of you. Them mimicking a habit they picked up from you should be the wake up call to start changing some of your ways, especially if it’s  a bad habit.

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.