Model the Behavior You Want to See

I heard somewhere that children are like sponges – whatever is in their path they will pick up.

Do you ever feel you’re being watched?  If you are raising children, you are.  Children observe the people around them. Then mirror the actions they see and the words they hear.  For example, in our home, we model to our grandchildren to use “gentle hands” when petting our dog. Recently, I was playing on the floor with our youngest grandchild.  When I stood up, the dog got under my feet and our impact caused her to lose her footing and she rolled across the floor.  Before I could get to her, our grandson trotted over and pushed her across the floor again.

He’s too young to know what initially happened was an accident.  But, he’s not too young to learn a behavior.  Think about times when children hear us grumble as we prepare (clean, shop, cook) for our invited guests.

What message are we sending to our children in this instance?

All of us want our children to be courteous, respectful, friendly and polite.  The good news is we get to show them.  This includes appropriate ways to express their feelings and helping them to understand those feelings. Using words and phrases regularly like “thank you, please, you’re welcome and may I help you” (or simple sign language) helps in developing and expanding your child’s skills.  Inviting children to help with food preparation, set the table, sort the laundry and pick up toys are some ways your child can practice help skills. Talk with your child about the many different feelings they are having (and they have more than two – happy and sad) and help them develop appropriate ways to express those feelings and emotions.

For instance, “On Monday When It Rained” by Cherryl Kachenmeister can be found here.

Also, the picture book “Thank You Bear” by Greg Foley is a wonderful story of friendship, feelings and gratitude.

I know you have a favorite children’s book related to friendship and feelings. I hope you will share it with Me.

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