By Noelle Downey

When it comes to parenting, setting a good example for your children can be one of the trickiest parts. Although every good parent wants their kids to look up to them and be able to positively emulate their behavior, in reality, setting a good example can be much more complicated than it first seems. It requires constant attention to your actions and reactions around your child, and a good sense not only of your child’s perception of you, but of your perception of yourself. According to UsNews.com, Madeline Levine, renowned psychologist and author, spoke to this concept recently, saying that true integrity is shown, “by a thousand small examples.” Robyn Silverman, child and teen development specialist, agrees, “They hear your process,” she advises, noting that it’s important to articulate your good decisions and why you’re making them so the child can learn to appreciate your moral compass and follow your example.

Whether you’re a celebrity parent or not, it’s vital to set a good example for your children to insure that they grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults. Check out this parenting advice to demonstrate to your kids through your actions the way you want them to behave.

Setting a good example for your children is complicated, but not impossible. Just like celebrity kids, your children may struggle to know how to act even if they’re not growing up in the spotlight. Below are some tips for how to show, rather than only tell, your kids how to act:

Prioritize spending time with your kids: Celebrity mom and famous actress Katherine Heigl once asserted in an interview, “family comes first” and we couldn’t agree more! Your kids can’t learn from your example if you’re never around to begin with. Although life is busy and other priorities should also be on your list, make sure your children know how much you care about them by spending quality time focusing only on them. Just being together will teach your kids to value family time and your advice in particular!

Related Link: Celebrity Interview: Katherine Heigl Says “Family Comes First”

Watch what you say: If you’re constantly complaining in the car to your partner with your kid in the back seat, or mumbling a series of not-so-nice words when you step on a favorite toy left out in the middle of the living room, your child will pick up on it. While you should find time and space to vent or deal with negative emotions verbally, try not to do so in front of your kids. By considering carefully how your kids will interpret what you say and choosing to be positive, kind and thoughtful with your words when you’re around them, you’ll show them that what you say matters and make them less likely to learn bad habits when it comes to talking out their problems.

Be self-aware and in the moment: When it comes to being a good example for your kids, one of the most important steps you can take is to focus on being your best self in the moment. While it’s easy to get caught up in your head as a parent, in a 2014 interview with Cupid’s Pulse, reality star and celebrity parent Rosie Pope cautioned mothers not to forget what’s goin on in the here and now. “You have to be really present in the moment, because you don’t have a lot of time to do anything,” Pope counsels, “You have to be 100 percent present to feel fulfilled and know that you’re getting the most out of every moment.” If your child observes your focus on living in the moment and making sure your behavior in the here-and-now is nothing short of stellar, they’ll want to mimic that way of life.

Related Link: Celebrity Interview: Maternity Expert Rosie Pope Encourages Moms “To Be Really Present in the Moment”

Communicate when you’ve made a mistake: Nobody’s perfect, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be either. We all make mistakes, and even if you try your hardest to set a good example for your children, at some point there’s bound to be a slip-up. Don’t be afraid to tell your child you acted poorly in a situation if they see you lose control for a moment or two. Apologize, explain why what you did was unacceptable and take steps to move forward. Your child will ultimately respect you for owning up to your mistake and it will teach them to also be honest and take responsibility for their actions when you discipline them in the future.

Related Link: Parenting Tips: Why Disciplining Your Kids Is Important

Setting a good example for your child is an important part of the parenting process. Although no one is capable of being a good example every minute of every day, we should all strive to better ourselves for the benefit of our children. By taking the time and making the effort to demonstrate good actions to your child, you are investing in not only their future, but the future of the world.

Do you have any personal examples of a time you set a great example for your favorite kiddos? Let us know in the comments!