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Role Models

Kids learn about the world by watching the adults around them, and they love to put their observations into action (even when you wish they wouldn’t). That means it’s important to set a good example for your children with everyday kindness and generosity, and by including them in the activities you enjoy the most.

firefighterMelissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume Set and Bruder Fire Engine

BEING AN EVERYDAY HERO

“I wanted to become a firefighter so I could make a difference,” says Pat, pictured above with Ben, age 5. Ben, loves fire trucks, uniforms, and sirens, but he also knows that the most important part of a firefighter’s job is saving lives. Giving back to the community in any form — as a first responder, as a volunteer or through charitable contributions — is a great way to model the importance of helping others.

healthymomMelissa & Doug Grocery Cart, Melissa & Doug Playtime Fruit, and Melissa & Doug Playtime Veggies

EATING HEALTHY

“A healthy dinner can be a challenge, since I work full time,” says Stephanie, pictured with Miyana, age 5. Stephanie tries to shop for healthy fruits and veggies that are in season. She encourages the kids to try unfamiliar foods: “Veggies can be tough, but the goal is to try three bites of something new and healthy that is on the plate.”

painterAlex Giant Art Jar

GETTING CREATIVE

“I try to encourage my kids to be as creative as possible,” says Alison, pictured with Penny, age 3.“I keep crayons, markers, pencils, and paper in bins where they can reach them, so they can create and explore at their leisure. And I encourage them to recycle and reuse pieces of paper and old magazines for collages.”

bikeriderKickboard USA Maxi Kick and Nutcase Little Nutty Helmet

STAYING ACTIVE

“Healthy living is not forcing yourself to run 10 miles, or eat only carrots,” says Dara, the owner of Peapod Fitness, pictured with Coby, age 5. Frequent exercise works best when it’s integrated into your daily routine, and when it’s enjoyable, not a chore: “If we show our kids that being active is fun, and a normal part of the routine, they will be eager to join right in!”

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Surprises, our biannual magalog (part magazine, part catalog).

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