It is evident that children mimic what they see; this is true, no matter what country you live in. Because of this, it’s imperative that parents and the people who contribute to the daily lives of children, set the best possible examples for them to follow. The behavior seen by others whether it’s a caregiver, teacher, older siblings or a friend is very influential, and aids in a child’s developmental behavior.
Let’s look at it from the prospective of a parent. Remember, your child sees everything you do, and takes in all in. The way you walk, the way you talk, eat, sit, and the way you communicate with others. I can assure you that nine out of ten times, they will try to imitate you. For example, a toddler sees her mommy putting on her makeup every morning for work, or wearing high heels. The mommy will most likely soon be surprised in discovering that her daughter has raid her shoe closet.
Or a young boy sees his dad wearing a tie each day or a hat and wants to look like his dad. Or perhaps they see you talking on the phone and immediately picks up their toy phone or an object and begins to talk along with you. Children are professionals at copying what they see it’s how they learn, interact and develop.
Be Mindful of Unintentional Poor Behavior
Now imagine a child seeing an adverse behavior, one which promotes negativity. What do you think would happen? They will follow it! Sometimes it is easy to determine if a child environment is conducive to their attitude by the way they behave. Examples a child sees his mom yelling at the cashier because she won’t refund her order or, he witness his mom and dad having a loud and heated argument. Then he demonstrates what he observed while role playing with his toys or friends.
Unintentional Behavior That Goes Unnoticed
- A parent telling their kids to be more active but spends their free time watching TV or playing video games.
- A father telling his kids that they shouldn’t smoke because it is bad for them, when in fact he (the father) smokes.
- A mom telling her child to be polite when speaking, but constantly snaps at others.
- Parents telling their kids that fighting is unacceptable, but fights constantly in front of their kids.
Practice What We Preach
Although we are humans and are faulty by nature and may find it difficult to portray appropriate behavior daily for our kids, we must try to do so as often as possible. However, there will come a time when we may mess up and demonstrate poor judgement. This should be used as an opportunity to teach our kids. Having an age appropriate discussion with them is necessary, it shouldn’t be ignored as I assure you they noticed it.
The bottom line is, children learn how to communicate and interact by observing us, whether our behavior is acceptable or unacceptable. For this reason, we must always be mindful of this fact.