Letting Kids Learn From Your Example

Home Science Tools Banner
* This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. *

Did you like this article? If so, please help by sharing it!

A little over a year ago, I began my journey to lose 95 pounds.  When I started, I didn’t really think I’d be successful, but I have been.  I’ve lost 70 pounds, so far.  It’s been an incredibly life-changing experience and I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the example I set for my kids.

Before & After Nov. 2010

One of the best things about the experience has been seeing how I really do influence my kids and I expect that a lot of what I’ve learned about setting an example applies to much more than just my weight-loss.  My tips for letting yourself be an example for your kids:

Let them see you do hard things.  Let’s face it, nobody likes to do hard stuff, but, wow, what an incredible feeling when you’re done!

I love running.  One thing I’ve learned from running is that it’s only a little while out of my life.  It’s sometimes hard during the run, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I’m done.  That’s perseverance.  Something may be hard for a time, but the rewards of pushing through and reaching your goals are so worth the effort.

Schoolwork may not be fun while it’s being done, but the goal will be worth the effort.  The same holds true for many things in life.  As they’ve seen me lose weight, my kids have begun to understand that success isn’t always immediate, but the effort it requires is worthwhile.

before & after

Don’t force them.  Obviously, I’ve made a lot of changes in my lifestyle over the last year or so.  While it’s debatable whether or not I should have forced the healthy changes on my family, for the most part, I haven’t.

I work out every day.  Although the kids are welcome to work out with me, I don’t force them to.

I’ve made a lot of changes to my diet.  While I eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and generally healthier choices, my husband and kids still enjoy many of their old favorites.

While I’ve been busy not forcing the issue, my kids have chosen to make some changes.  I’ve been surprised at the variety of fruits Josh and Megan like.  Josh has learned to enjoy roasted broccoli.  And, I can’t keep him and Brianna out of my pita chips and hummus.

And, every once in awhile, someone comes to our home gym to workout with me.

Maybe, as your kids watch you try a new hobby or skill, they’ll feel inclined to join you.  Make some time to take a class, read a book, or explore a new hobby; it’s good for you and it’s good for your kids to see you pursuing your dreams and goals.

Kris 3.18.11[5]

Okay, maybe force them a little.  Some of the new foods I’ve tried have looked a little questionable.  Yet, I’ve discovered that I love quinoa and spaghetti squash, for just two examples.

I want the kids to try new things, too, so I make them try new foods that I make.  They don’t have to eat them if they don’t like them, but they have to try them.  Who knows what they’ll discover that they like when they try new things – new foods, a musical instrument, a sport.  Sometimes kids just need a push to get them past the fear that comes with the unknown.

Show them the benefits.  When kids start seeing our successes, I think it gives them more confidence in the possibility of their own.  As my kids have seen my increase in energy, they’ve seen the benefits of exercise and healthy eating.

As they’ve seen me reach my weight-loss goals, they’ve seen my confidence grow.  They’ve seen me become happier with my appearance.    They’ve seen that it’s about more than just pounds.  They’ve also discovered that setting and achieving goals is worthwhile, whatever the goal may be.

Mistakes don’t equal failure.  Every week, after I weigh, my kids ask me how much weight I’ve lost.  I hate the weeks when I have to report that I haven’t lost – or, worse, that I’ve gained.  It’s happened, though, over the course of this journey and my kids have seen that I don’t just throw up my hands, toss in the towel and quit.

I use those off weeks to look back and see where I went wrong – and to learn from my mistakes.  Mistakes and set backs don’t mean you quit; they just mean you may need to recalculate.

That is true, not just for weight-loss, but almost anything.  Failed the test?  Look up your wrong answers and find out why they were wrong.  You’ll probably remember them better next time if you know why you missed them.

Was that project a big flop?  Yeah, Thomas Edison didn’t get the light bulb right the first time either.  If you can learn from your mistakes, they’re learning opportunities, not failures.

Your kids are watching.  You don’t always have to be – or maybe I could even say, “you rarely have to be” – actively teaching for them to learn from you.  You’re setting an example.  Make it a good one.

+ posts

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

Did you like this article? If so, please help by sharing it!


  1. Way to go Kris! I am on that journey of weight loss (once again) using WW this time. You look fab and I hope to follow in your footsteps! Rock it momma! (see you at Relevant 11?)

  2. Congratulations! You look fantastic, healthy and energetic, and your family must be proud of you! Keep up the terrific work.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing. I have just started the weightloss journey, (and homeschooling). Your post was very uplifting for me.

  4. That most recent photo makes you look like a teenager! Congratulations on the success of your journey, thus far, and for the life changes you have instilled in yourself and your children.

  5. Congratulations on your weight loss!=) Great post! Last year I ran my first 5k. After my race my son said, "I'm so proud of you. I want to do something I don't think I could do!" They are constantly watching us!

  6. Dear Kris,
    This is one of the most important things we as mothers can choose to teach our children, to do hard things, try harder when we stumble, and love the learning experience.
    You have a cheerleader here, Yeah Kris!!

  7. Kris, you are an inspiration! I know your family is very proud of you, too!

    What a wonderful example you have set for them, of perseverance, of taking care of your health!

    And besides all that wonderful stuff, you are looking like one hot mama! 😉

  8. What a great post!! You look amazing and I know you must be so proud of yourself. You are an incredible inspiration to so many, most importantly your precious children. I love how God is using your journey to a more fit you to bless your children.

  9. Congratulations on your success! I'm on a similar journey and agree 100% about setting an example for our kids. Great post.

  10. Thank you all for your sweet comments! You've started my Tuesday off in a beautiful way.

    Tiff, your son's words must have touched you so much. What an incredible feeling to know we've inspired someone, but even sweeter when that someone is our own child!

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Thanks for doing the hard stuff – especially what so many folks settle on giving up (me) and pushing thru not only for yourself but for your kids.


  12. A very inspiring story! I also try to lead by example but not sure that it is always working… you are proof that they must be watching.

  13. I LOVE what you say about doing hard things in front of your kids! Let them see it! It's good inspiration and they WILL remember it. I remember a lot of trials my parents faced and how they dealt with it. I respect my parents for doing hard things in front of me.

    Congratulations on your success. You have worked very hard and it shows!

  14. Congratulations!! You look great! Reading this encourages me that such a tremedous weight loss is possible for a homeschool mom. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  15. Great post! Congrats on the weightloss. It is hard. I'm on the journey, too, and my kids have watched me go from couch potato to working out almost everyday and it's been a good lesson for them. The things I've had to learn to stay focussed and motivated have been excellent lessons for them, too. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

  16. Kris-My family and I are also on a weight loss journey and have started a blog about it at http://www.fat2fitfamily.com. I hope you check it out. I agreed with all you points about your journey! You are rocking it! I am not a homeschooling mom, but have always admired those who do. Thanks for sharing your success and tips.

  17. Fantastic Blog, Fantastic inspiration! keep up the great work.

    I have been trying to lose weight for about 2 years now but I have a few things stacked against me… I have 4 ruptured disks in my lower back, that limits some of the things I can do but I try new things. The other thing is my Thyroid that still is out of whack no matter what we are trying. I am still trying and the great news is I have not gained any weight. 🙂 Keep up being the inspiration both to your children and to others around you.

  18. awesome life lesson…for you, for them, and for US! congratulations ~ you look fantastic! so happy to call you my friend 🙂

  19. woohoo, way to go!!! that is a difficult road to walk. i appreciate the reminder to live an example to my children. that is important, they need to see that i am putting my 'money where my mouth is' or really, storing my treasure where i remind them to store theirs.

  20. I am so very, very happy and encouraged for your new life changes. I love the change in foods, the change in exercise, the change in example to your kids, and I love the new thinner, healthier you. You are such an amazing person in so many ways, and this is just another area you can be a good example and encouragement to so many others. Being one who has struggled with health issues over the past few years, I have to say I am the most thankful for the benefit of better health for you. Blessings!

  21. What a wonderful post, Kris! I love how you are able to see the very real implications that your dedication to your healthy goal has had for your entire family. You look awesome by the way – so healthy!


  22. What a wonderful post, Kris! I love how you are able to see the very real implications that your dedication to your healthy goal has had for your entire family. You look awesome by the way – so healthy!


  23. Kris CONGRATS!!! Way to go girl!! Looking good, being a homeschool mother much less a stay at home mother so many times we just kinda forget ourselves!! Im proud of you!! XOXO

  24. Congratulations on your weight loss!!! This was so timely for me. I have been struggling with my weight for years and have recently decided that there is no choice anymore. I HAVE to lose this 64 pounds. My kids say: NOOO! We want you to stay just the way you are but I'm doing it. Thanks for the tips and encouragement:) Have a beautiful day!

  25. You look like a fresh high school graduate on her way to college in your newest photo. Wow! And what a wonderful example to your children, and the rest of us. Thank you for sharing your story and experiences.

  26. You look AMAZING! I noticed you had changed your profile picture and I said, "Oh, wow!" 🙂 You go girl!

  27. You are so totally right. Challenging ourselves and doing the hard things that we feel called to do is not only important for our own growth, it's a tremendous model for our kids. That model translates into all sorts of endeavors.

    It also goes both ways. We parents work hard to be good examples for our kids, but it's also great to let our kids know when they push themselves to overcome fears or break through obstacles inspire us.

  28. EXCELLENT! I so understand. My son has prader-willi syndrome which can equal an unsatiable appetite. Despite that he IS slim due to the foods we offer…but…I'm not anymore. I need to lose 35 pounds so I can set a better example. (I've lost 10 since Christmas though 😉

  29. Kris – I haven't checked in with your blog in a while and let me just say, Kudos to you! You look fantastic…and I noticed a difference in your profile picture before I even got to this post.

    You are an inspiration to moms and kids everywhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.