5 Important Ways Moms Influence Kids

They have your eyes, your smile -- and many of the attitudes and ideas you pass along about media. By Sierra Filucci
5 Important Ways Moms Influence Kids

Media has a huge influence on kids -- and as kids get older, the online world has an even tighter grip on them. You can see it in the way they imitate their favorite TV characters, pretend to be YouTube stars, or beg for T-shirts, backpacks, or comforters emblazoned with logos. But parents still have a huge influence. And moms play a major role in the development and nurturing of kids in a media-filled world. Here are five ways moms can have a positive impact on kids' (media and tech) lives:

Foster positive body image
Kids get lots of iffy messages about appearance from media. Whether your kid is watching sassy tween TV or scrolling through perfect Instagram photos, they're inundated with bikini pics and muscleman heroes. Not only can moms discuss these media images with kids, but they can choose to ban fat talk and body shaming entirely from their homes. Studies show that
moms who criticize their own bodies can have a major impact on how kids feel about their own.

Insist on device-free dinner
Sure, more dads are in the kitchen than ever before, but
moms remain the primary person in charge of getting dinner on the table. And that means they can set the tone for the meal -- including insisting that all devices are put away so that families can concentrate on each other. Studies show that sharing meals as a family can help everything from behavior to health.

Choose high-quality media
So often mom are the ones in charge of curating kids' media lives. And we can do a lot to steer kids -- especially little ones -- toward top-notch content, from selecting TV shows that foster
empathy and other character-building skills for preschoolers to loading up the tablet with educational apps to keep kids busy -- and learning -- during road trips and more.

Stop texting and driving
While both parents drive kids around, it's often moms who spend the most time in the car with kids. And kids are watching when we pick up the phone for a quick text while cruising down the highway. Nix this habit immediately to
set a good example for your future drivers. (Plus, it's super dangerous!)

Raise media-literate kids
Moms are responsible for the majority of shopping in most households. This means it's mom's job to negotiate with kids about which logos, phrases, and characters can appear on kids' T-shirts, backpacks, and more. While there's no shame in buying kids the occasional branded goodie, it's a good idea to help kids understand a little bit about how marketing works. Understanding how
media companies make money by selling T-shirts can be one step in teaching kids media literacy.

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About Sierra Filucci

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Sierra is a journalist with a special interest in media and families. She has a master's degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and she's been writing and editing professionally for more... Read more

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Comments (2)

Parent written by Elizabeth S.

Thank you for writing this! I would like to add that talking on the phone while driving actually causes more accidents than texting - the best policy is to not use your phone at all when driving. Also, don't forget that those long car trips are great for conversation, songs, and "real-life" games too, all of which are much more important for healthy brain development than screen media :)
Teen, 17 years old written by MapletheJoshapoo

It may just be me, but this article feels very bias. As how these lessons primarily conclude with how a Mom can set a good influence on children. Acknowledging the fact that father's are able to do these things but aren't as relevant to the teaching of these important lessons. I feels slightly condescending towards Dad's ability to teach their kids life skills. I think that Mother's and Father's are equal in there own right. I feel this article would benefit more for specifying what topics children may be more comfortable talking to their parents about individually. I am able to come to the realization that as a teenager, I would rather talk about things with my Mom than preferably with my Dad - and vise versa. This is highly subjective of me; I know. However, I feel as if responsibilities of Mother's listed, are something both parents can partake in.


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