They’re watching you … always watching you.
Our kids that is!
It’s not just the things we say or the way we act. But what we eat and drink. As well as the way we talk to ourselves. They are watching, and mimicking our every move.
Yesterday, I asked my 4 year old daughter to come to the dinner table instead of chasing the cat around the house. Her response “Jesus, mommy”. Now, this is not something that she just picks up out of the blue! She’s heard it. And she’s testing it out in her vocabulary and in her conversations. This goes with many other words and phrases, that technically are above her age, but she hears them and is testing them out. I am sure there are so may of you out there that could share your fair share of stories regarding this issue!!! And I would certainly love to hear them! … post in our comments please 😊
I’ve stopped ordering food for my daughter off the kid’s menu. It doesn’t matter what it is she is set on getting at the restaurant, she ultimately ends up eating whatever it is I’m eating! I am not saying this is a bad thing! Actually, I love it! She has such a diverse palate for a 4 year old, it’s pretty unbelievable. And the amount of water this child drinks, is outstanding! I love water, and my daughter knows it! In knowing how limited most toddlers diets are, it definitely made me take even closer notice of my choices when I eat and drink. She is always watching what I am putting into my body and wants to do exactly what mommy is doing. Eat exactly what mommy is eating. So, if I am eating a salad loaded with proteins and veggies, she will eat it right along with me. The same goes with a bag of Doritos! It is rare that I have those in the house, but if I am eating them, she wants them. I know this is true for so many others as well. So in noticing the extent of her watching what I eat, I now take these opportunities to teach my daughter about mindful and intuitive eating. And while she will not grasp the major concept of those things, I break it down to her in terms of what is helpful to her body and what doesn’t make her body feel very good. It’s a constant work in progress, but I am trying to break the barrier of believing foods are good versus bad so that she can grow up (hopefully) with a positive relationship with food.
Another area we as mothers are constantly being watched by our children is the way we talk to ourselves. It is becoming very well publicized that the way we watched our mother’s talk to themselves, is now how we talk to ourselves. I have heard women/mom’s say “look at my bat wings” - while they grab the extra skin on the back of their arms. Or, “I can’t even look in the mirror without seeing all my wrinkles”. So many of us have spent vacations and precious times with our little ones self conscious about our bodies on vacation, saying things like “I won’t wear a bathing suit because I’m not in my beach body”. When we participate in negative self talk like this, we are setting a standard to those little ones that watch us ever so closely. Worse, we miss out on precious moments worrying about those minor and insignificant flaws. Lately, it seems so many of us are actively working to not continue that trend. Bravo to all you mamas out there battling your insecurities every day to set a more positive standard of self talk to your little ones! As little girls, we didn’t understand the criticism, but for many of us it would eventually become part of our own self talk. In the brief moments my daughter sneaks in while I’m showering and/or getting dressed, I refrain from saying anything negative and try to point out at least one positive I am feeling that day. And it’s not always easy, because some of that negative talk is so deeply embedded in me, but I want to do it for her. Whenever she is naked, I take a moment (how quick of a moment depends on willing she is to listen to me in that moment lol) to point out different body parts and find the positives that those body parts are doing for her as a whole. I want her to grow up looking at her body as a symbol of strength for all the good it does for her each and every day, instead of finding the flaws and fixating on the superficially negative qualities.
I know all of you mamas out there know just how closely we are watched. I mean, most of us can’t even pee in privacy as a mom haha (it’s funny, because it’s true!). Don’t we want to inspire our young ones to have positive feelings towards themselves? This comes from us! Let’s take a moment to realize the amazing power we have to help our little ones not have to go through the devastating negative self talk and/or damaging relationship with food and body image. I don’t try to act perfect in front of her and that certainly isn’t the standard I am trying to set for her. Our goal as mother’s should never be perfection. If anything, I try to teach my daughter that our imperfections are what make each of us unique. And that we learn and grow most as humans from making mistakes.
Let's strive to model the positive roles we have in our little ones because they are watching – always watching!