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Modeling Behavior

Modeling behavior does not mean being a model parent. All parents make mistakes. However, when teaching our children how to behave in most situations, our own behavior has more impact than any words. Therefore, to make sure that your preschooler or kindergartner behaves in a way that would make you proud, show him that you are willing to behave that way too.

Teaching Children by Modeling Behavior

Most studies have shown that kids learn best by imitating the behavior of those around them. A child's first teacher is his parents. Before your child is influenced by peers, you have a chance to influence certain behaviors by showing your child exactly what you expect from him.

Parents' behavior is a strong predictor of a child's behavior. If a parent is frequently frustrated, easily angered, or often sad, that individual's child is likely to display similar behavior. If a parent is generally happy, easygoing, and communicative, that individual's child will probably be happy, easygoing, and communicative.

This is more than mere personality, its modeling. Modeling is so strong in children that, even if they have been told repeatedly not to behave in a certain way, viewing an adult behave in an undesirable manner will overshadow what the child has been verbally taught. For this reason, parents have to consciously demonstrate the behaviors they want their kids to mimic.

Behavior in Children Improves from Modeling

Children learn from watching and listening to what is going on around them. If you want to teach kids that violence is wrong, don't hit, slap, or throw things. If you want to teach kids compassion, make sure that you are compassionate toward everyone you encounter. If you want to teach kids responsibility, then you have to admit when you are wrong and keep your promises. If you want to teach kids respect, use respect when dealing with others. Ultimately, your child will be exposed to countless behavior models. But, remember, you are the first, and, at least during the preschool and kindergarten years, one of the most influential. Take advantage of your influence to model behavior you'd be proud of.