How to Be a Positive Role Model for Your Toddler

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

daughter wanting mom's junk food

If your plate includes something different than your toddler’s, they’ll notice. And they’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 they’ll prefer? Help prevent a tantrum and encourage healthy habits by serving yourself the same healthy meal and drinks as your little one.

family eating at table

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.

girl refusing fruit

Many parents are frustrated when they offer a new food and their child 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 as many as 10 to 15 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.

family eating dinner using phones

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

We all need technology to get through our day, but try to set limits by:

  • Turning off screens (keeping phones on silent and away from the table) at meal and snack times.
  • Making bedrooms a screen-free zone.
  • Setting aside time each day for screen-free play with your child.

mom and daughter in living room

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 them that playing is fun, no matter how old you are. 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 they want to be just like you. Help them develop healthy habits, while giving your body the nutritious foods and activity it needs to keep up with them!