The next time you fly off the handle or behave badly in front of your child, realise that your behaviour and actions can influence them — and not in a good way. Kids can be very impressionable, so much so, that they tend to pick up good as well as bad habits very fast. This is why you need to be extra careful about how you behave in front of them.

Experts say that instead of berating kids or giving them harsh punishments, it is more advisable to instill healthy behaviour and good habits. Here are some things you should keep in mind…

– Avoid criticising yourself in front of your children — whether you’re unhappy about your weight or looks — don’t allow your child to get influenced. This might send out a wrong message to them and lead to low self-esteem issues.
– Don’t spend hours on your laptop or smartphone. It sends out wrong signals to your child, who thinks it is okay to do the same thing. And when they don’t get to do it, it will result in tantrums and mood swings. Keep all gadgets away during mealtimes — instead spend the time to talk to each other.
– More and more young girls today are conscious about the way they look and dress up. While allowing your little girl to dress up in your clothes and use your makeup is alright once in a while, don’t let it become a regular habit. And don’t pay a lot of attention to your own looks in front of your kids.
– If you’re trying to make your child eat healthy, it won’t help that you’re stuffing yourself with junk food. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods by eating them yourself without making a fuss. When they see that you’re really enjoying what you’re eating, chances are that they will too. And encourage your child to participate in the kitchen — the more involved they feel, the likelier they are to eat food without any fuss.
– Find yourself eating when you’re stressed or sad? Don’t! This sends out a wrong message to your child, who will pick up the same behaviour.
– Let your children see you read and encourage them to do the same. There are thousands of titles out there for different sensibilities. Take your child to a bookstore twice a month and let them pick up books of their choice.
– Never compare your child to another or make everything a competition. This will only demotivate them and lower their self esteem. Instead, focus on their strong points and be generous in your praise.
– Avoid arguing or fighting with your partner, or anyone else for that matter, in front of children. They will assume that it is okay to shout or be rude in an argument.
– Don’t talk down someone else in front of children. They take this as a sign that it is fine and will have no qualms about doing the same. Avoid gossiping as well.