5 Ways to Be a Positive Role Model for Your Toddler

1-3 Years

You want your child to grow into a happy and healthy adult. Who better to show him how it’s done than you? You’re the coolest person in his world, so use your bond to help him develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. It’s good for him and good for you, too!

1

Eat and drink what she does

If your plate includes something different than your toddler’s, she’ll notice. And she’ll want it, right then and there. Also, most toddlers like water just fine, but when mom or dad has a brightly colored, bubbly or fruity-smelling drink, which do you think she’ll prefer? Prevent a tantrum and encourage healthy habits by serving yourself the same healthy meal and drinks as your little one.

2

Greet your veggies with a smile

Research shows that when kids see their parent smiling while eating vegetables, they’re more likely to try them. Try it and you’ll see. It works much better than pressuring or bribing with dessert, which could create a power struggle.

3

Be willing to try new foods

Many parents are frustrated when they offer their child a new food and she responds with “ew” or “yuck” without even trying it. If your child isn’t ready to try something new, that’s OK. Some kids need to see a food 15 to 20 times before trying and liking it.

In the meantime, you can be a positive role model by reacting well to new foods. When you’re served something new, try it with an open mind or politely say, “No thank you.” Your child will notice and eventually copy your reaction.

4

Limit screen time

Your toddler probably already mimics you by talking on a toy phone or trying to swipe screens with his finger. It can be hard to limit screen time for kids if he always sees you on your phone, tablet or computer.

We all need technology to get through our day, but set limits by keeping screens off during meals and snacks, and out of bedrooms. Set aside some time for screen-free play every day with your child.

5

Play!

Toddlers have plenty of energy to burn, so they’re naturally wired to move their bodies. When you’re active with your child, you teach her that playing is fun, no matter what your age. When kids get used to being active early on, they’ll naturally prefer it to screen time later.

You are your child’s first and best role model, and she wants to be just like you. Help her develop healthy habits, while giving your body the right foods and activity it needs to keep up with her!