Guide your children with these 10 healthy marriage habits

Role modeling is one of the most powerful tools you have in guiding your child.

Guide your children with these 10 healthy marriage habits

Raising children can present some rude awakenings. Like the time my daughter pretended to be a boy so that “she can show me how to use the tools.” No one ever said girls can’t use tools—but she had never actually seen me use tools (eek).

Children absorb everything—relationship habits are high on the list. They are not just learning how to interact with their future partner, but also their peers, and of course you.

It takes a lot of thought to create a relationship that is not only beneficial for the individuals in it, but one that can have a positive impact on the children that view it daily.


Here are some essentials for any relationship that your kids need to see:

1. Communicate
Talk about your feelings, your thoughts and your wishes. Do not assume that your partner knows what you are thinking or feeling. And do not assume that your thoughts, feelings, and wishes are not as important. Your child is watching and learning from you… the both of you.

2. Speak kindly
Not only must you practice communicating, but you must practice doing so kindly. It’s obvious that you don’t want to call your partner names, but children hear your tone too. If you are not in a calm state, then postpone the talking so that you can model how to manage feelings for your child. Also, talking harshly to one another can make it more likely for your child to do so with you or your partner.

3. Empathize
It is easy to get stuck in why things need to be our way. Being curious about your partner’s perspective may not only actually improve your relationship, but also shows your child empathy and advanced problem-solving abilities.

4. Act kindly
Engaging in acts of kindness shows your child that love is more than just words. You are not doing this to receive anything in return, but truly because you care about your partner.

Putting up sweet sentiments on the bathroom mirror, giving a hug when your partner is feeling down, or perhaps sharing the last piece of chocolate. Your child will see your action and can see how your partner feels in response. Sometimes it helps to highlight these things for younger children (e.g., “mommy was so happy to see that we made her a card”).

5. Share responsibility
It’s common for either person in a relationship to feel like they are carrying the majority of the workload, so here is where communication, empathy and speaking kindly come in hand to resolve this issue. You will then be able to model for your child what shared responsibility looks like and hopefully it doesn't all fit into gender stereotypes. (Trust me when I say I will be taking out the toolbox soon).

6. Learn from each other
Showing your children that you still each have room to grow and that you can support each other in this not only demonstrates humility, but also teamwork. Your child will be more likely to be a team player when it comes to working on class projects or making a goal in soccer practice.

7. Set your own goals
Create goals or engage in hobbies outside of the relationship to show your child that you are each unique and can have differences, yet always love each other.

8. Empower each other
You and your partner can help each other grow by gently challenging and supporting each other to create positive changes and fulfill even life-long dreams. How beautiful would it be to show your children that you have each other’s backs?

9. Family hug
Sometimes young children feel excluded from the love between parents and it can be hard for them to know that they are still loved when their parents are affectionate towards one another. Open up some hugs to a group hug. Let them know that the love you have for your partner has extended to them.

10. Apologize
When we can genuinely say “sorry” we are really showing how to be humble and that it is okay to not do everything ‘perfectly.’ This is something that no forced apology can ever teach a child.

Role modeling is one of the most powerful tools you have in guiding your child. If you are not currently where you want to be in your relationship, then consider what is the most important area to focus on and start with that. Sometimes a little therapy can go a long way, too, with understanding our own barriers and how our own past has affected us.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Mentally strong kids have parents who refuse to do these 13 things

    9. Feeling responsible for their kids' emotions.

    Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength won't make your child immune to hardship—but it also won't cause him to suppress his emotions.

    In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks. It gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

    But raising a mentally strong kid requires parents to avoid the common yet unhealthy parenting practices that rob kids of mental strength. In my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I identify 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong kid equipped to tackle life's toughest challenges:

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