How to Model Positive Behaviors for Your Kids
Children learn by observing others around them, particularly their parents. Kids often imitate what they see adults do, whether it’s positive or negative. If you would like your children to be polite and respectful and to follow rules, demonstrate those behaviors in your own interactions with others.
Teach Kids to Communicate Respectfully
Children learn how to speak to others by seeing and hearing how their parents communicate with other people. If you want your children to say “please” and “thank you,” make a habit of saying those things yourself. If you want your kids to speak calmly, don’t raise your voice when you get frustrated. Explain how you’re feeling in words so your children can learn how to express their own feelings.
Give Clear Instructions
Positive directions are easier for kids to understand and follow than negative ones. Instead of telling your children not to do something, tell them what you want them to do. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t leave your toys on the floor,” say, “Put your toys away when you’re done playing with them.”
Reinforce Positive Behaviors
If you see your kids behaving in a way that you would like to see continue, praise them. Instead of making generally positive comments, tell them specifically what you’re happy to see them doing. This will help reinforce the good behavior.
Kids can learn values such as responsibility and cooperation and build their self-esteem by having chores to complete. Even young kids can be assigned simple tasks, such as putting dirty clothes in the hamper and picking up toys. Seeing all members of the family pitch in and work together can make children feel included and important.
Teach Your Kids to Keep Their Word
Always follow through on promises. If you tell your kids that they’ll get a reward for cleaning their rooms, give them what you promised if they do a good job. If you tell your kids that they won’t get dessert if they don’t do their homework, don’t give in if they whine and complain. Your kids will respect you if they know they can trust what you say, and they will learn to say what they mean and mean what they say.
Model the Behaviors You Want to See in Your Kids
Children learn by observing others. They’re watching you and paying attention, even if you don’t think they are. The behaviors you model are the ones your children will adopt. Set a good example by demonstrating the way you want to see your kids behave, teaching them how to express their feelings in clear and constructive ways, assigning them age-appropriate levels of responsibility, and enforcing consequences to teach positive behaviors.