The Power of Role Modeling

The inspiration for my article’s theme came to me during a Zoom with my students. I ordered some of those glasses that block blue light. When I put them on I thought I looked ridiculous. But, the constant screen time was just too much for my eyes, so I set aside my vanity and decided to embrace my inner “dork” and wear them anyway. During the class Zoom I “bragged” about my new specs to the kids. Wouldn’t you know it... all of the sudden the kids started putting on their blue- light-blocking glasses! Hence, the moral of the lesson I learned (and which I continue to learn as a teacher): role modeling is the most effective tool adults have to influence the behavior of children. We are living in a difficult time right now. It’s stressful. It can feel a bit depressing, confusing, and relentless. Children need our support more than ever and they will follow our lead. Just as a small child will look up after a fall to check how hurt they are, so will our children look to us for guidance as to how we should react to the stressors of our world. Here are some practical suggestions for how to model emotional resiliency for your children in this most unique time in which we are living: Wearing a mask can turn into a fashion statement. Wear yours with pride and your child will follow. Birthday celebrations don’t have to be fancy. Lower expectations and switch up the way you celebrate your family traditions. Keep your perspective. Read about and notice those who are not as fortunate. Perhaps find a way to help. Redecorate. Spending more time at home creates an incentive to spruce up our living spaces. Even moving the furniture around can be fun. Watch your language. Re-frame difficult situations into opportunities for learning and growth rather than complaining. Practice grace. Some days are just hard. Allow yourself grace and time when you just don’t have it in you. Lastly, lean on friends and family. Although we may be distancing ourselves physically we should not be isolating ourselves emotionally. Now more than ever is the time to reach out for the support you need. We’ve got this!

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