You already are.
Your children are watching your example day in and day out. When we change, they see this. This will vary some with your child’s personality and age, but for the most part the saying is true. Actions speak louder than words.
You can take a few steps to help the trickle down effect move a little faster, but let me give you a little warning first. If you have tried many times or many different approaches to change something, you will likely be met with resistance to trying something AGAIN or disbelief. Do not let this discourage you.
Tell your family why you want to change, how you plan on changing, and ask them for help. This actually serves a two-fold purpose. It calls their attention to something that needs work AND it gives them the opportunity to serve.
Now, it is not likely to be this beautiful picture of butterflies and rainbows as you skip through your freshly cleaned kitchen on time. Change is rarely easy, even (especially?) when it is very much needed. You will likely have your moments when you are frustrated because the bad habits seem stuck like glue and it feels like you are the only one committed to this.
This is where you will discover that God is also working on developing patience, mercy, and grace in your heart as well. I will tell you from experience, the more you actively let go of the frustration, resentment, and bitterness…the easier it gets to react with patience.
Ask them how they think they are doing in the same area. Invite them to look at how their behavior effects others. Help them to think about their actions. Ask open-ended questions and let them know there is no right or wrong answer.
If you ask them how they feel in a cluttered room and they say “fine, doesn’t bother me,” then ask them to think about it from another person’s point of view. Try to think of someone you all know who is well ahead of you in this particular area. Someone who keeps their kitchen clean, for example.
When it came to keeping the house clean and tidy, I asked my children to look at it from the point of view of a guest. We talked about how we want guests to feel comfortable in our home, not worry that they are interrupting or taking away from the time we obviously need to clean the house. We also talked about feeling embarrassed by our guests seeing that certain things weren’t taken care of, like gifts the kids were given that littered the floor to be trampled.
Again, Just Do It
You can talk until you are blue in the face, but it really comes down to this…your kids need to see that you are serious about this change. Especially if you have tried this before and failed. There is tremendous value in your children seeing you work to better yourself. There is tremendous value in your children watching you overcome something that was an obstacle in your life. There is tremendous value in your children seeing you fail…and get back up.
Just remember, they will remember your attitude about the whole thing, too. So, as I tell my children, work at it with a happy heart!