Pat Chitan, RECE
At St. Alban’s, we strive to be great role models for the kids, youth, and younger staff members in our Club. But, we’re aware of the fact that the first and most prominent role models in kids’ lives are almost always parents. As both a preschool teacher and a parent myself, I am often reminded that kids are like little sponges – absorbing everything they hear and see – especially from the adults in their lives.
It seems like these days, “experts” of all kinds are weighing in with recommendations of behaviours they believe can positively determine the social outcome of children. However, I believe that there are some simple rules that parents can use to develop positive behaviour in their children and really, it’s not rocket science.
Human beings are mimicking individuals that learn from following what they see or hear. Of the five senses, the power of sight and sound are the most important inputs in the process of learning, making them extremely useful tools. So, be careful what you show and tell children, as the parent and most important role model for your child.
The words and tones we use as parents in speaking with our child, will likely be used by them at some point in the future. With their sponge-like brain quickly developing, children will absorb and record every word they hear, so be careful what you say and/or how you say it in their presence, it may come back to haunt you in the future. Hopefully, the positive words and tones you use with your children will come back to please you at some later date as well!
We’ve all found ourselves becoming upset (it always seems to happen in public!) when undesirable behaviour or words come from our children, but the question is, “Where have they learned these words and reactions?” Can it be from us as parents? What have we said while we thought they were not listening – as they were watching TV, distracted by their tablet, or playing with toys? Even though it doesn’t seem as though they’ve heard you because they don’t respond by looking at you or making a comment, the little sponge in their head is constantly soaking up all of the information they are processing, both consciously and unconsciously.
Similarly, in cases like lying, cheating, stealing, disrespect or even physical behaviours, as parents and the primary caregivers of our children, are we being good models in these areas so that we can help them to develop healthy behaviour that we can be proud of?
Remember, your behaviour is a template for your child’s behaviour. It is how they learn.
“Monkey see, Monkey do!”