Children, especially younger children, are always picking up on what others say and do. It is all part of the learning process, so we must be aware of this with what we, as adults, do. We all get frustrated from time to time, but we need to learn to control what we say and do especially in front of children. A phrase that we often use is “live and lead by example”, and this is particularly relevant when it comes to our child’s development.
Here at Kidz Village, we often talk to parents about the importance of explaining things in a manner that their child would understand. Explaining things clearly and telling your child why you are making certain decisions is crucial. Although they may not fully understand at first, they will quickly start to pick up on the reasons why you do things and most importantly, they will begin to understand the difference between right and wrong.
Why are role models important?
Every parent wants their child to be happy, respectful and most importantly, healthy. It is often something that we are judged upon as parents but merely telling a child what to do and hoping to teach them these vital character traits will almost inevitably be ineffective. These are things that your child actually needs to experience and see with their own eyes. To a large degree, these qualities are things that they need to learn from their parents, and this is why good role models are so crucial in a child’s development. After all, what they learn as a child will stay with them for a lifetime.
What makes a good role model for children?
In today’s world, we all seem to have less quality time to spend with those we love. While modern technology, in many ways, brings us closer together, in other ways, it drives a wedge between us. When we come home from work, we are often tired and want some time to relax “me time” as it is often referred. It is easy to pass our children an iPad or phone to play games, but is this teaching them anything? In reality, they will gain something, but perhaps not we want, it is far more important to experience real-life events rather than view them through a lens.
There are four key areas where a parent should encourage a child to make the right choices that will help them to become “good human beings”. These are behaviour, social skills, healthy lifestyle and the importance of learning. If you can have a positive influence on your child in each of these areas, then you will be a good role model for your children.
How does, being a positive role model impact on a child’s behaviour?
We all want our children to grow up knowing right from wrong, but if we, as parents don’t behave appropriately, it is tough for children to learn. When we are polite, courteous and helpful with others, our children will witness this and copy our behaviour. They will understand that this is the right thing to do, and it will reinforce what we say. They will see that what we say is replicated in our actions.
If, on the other hand, we tell our children not to do something, and then we do it ourselves, it sends out very confusing signals and the child will be uncertain what is right. An example that is commonly used is when a child in a car shouts “get out of my way!”, only for the parent to say it’s not the right thing to say. The child then points out that this is what the parent says every day. It is why being a positive role model in our actions is more important than what we say when it comes to our children’s behaviour.
Teaching Social Skills
How we interact with others is something that is vital and showing our children is crucial. We should show them how to share and how to talk to other people. It is very much connected with behaviour but it is about having a deeper understanding and appreciation of others and how our actions impact on them. If children see us being friendly with others, they will do the same, which will make their interactions in adulthood easier. We want to develop confident children that know how to treat and respect others.
Why is a healthy lifestyle important?
It is often something that goes overlooked, but childhood obesity is becoming a serious problem and a lot of this comes from parents not feeding their children the right food. If we always give them junk food or microwave meals they will think that this is normal. Again, if as a parent, we eat this type of food it portraits an unhealthy image.
Exercise is equally essential, and we don’t want to encourage our children to lead sedentary lives. It goes back to the concept of giving our children an iPad to play games or watch movies as it is an easy option. We should be taking children out and showing them things, things that they actually see for themselves, such as walks in the park or visits to the zoo. By understanding things for themselves, they will develop an interest and learn to ask questions.
The importance of learning
Children should never be put under pressure to learn and being happy and healthy is far more crucial, but the importance of learning should never be overlooked. It doesn’t necessarily mean in terms of academic achievement as not everyone can be a genius; it is about learning life skills and not being frightened to ask questions. Taking the time to read books to children as well as showing them how to do things is crucial. It is a huge factor in being a role model, and we all want our children to look up to us!
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We hope that this article illustrated the importance of being a positive role model. Here at Kidz Village, we believe in teaching students to be independent and disciplined while building their self-esteem and confidence. Our acclaimed International School in Bangkok strives to provide the ideal environment to promote learning. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.