One of the most important things we can do as parents and teachers are model good behavior for the children in our care. After all, children are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear. If we want them to grow into kind, responsible adults, it’s important that we’re thinking about the example we’re setting. But modeling good behavior isn’t always easy. We’re only human, after all, and sometimes we make mistakes. What do you do when you lose your temper in front of your child? It’s important to remember that children learn best by example. So even in our toughest moments, it’s crucial that we try to model the behavior we want to see in our children.
6 Ways to Model Good Behavior for Children
1- Be Mindful
By learning and practicing relaxation techniques through breathing tactics and specific postures, we can develop the needed tools to emerge from overwhelming emotions and call upon calmer thoughts whenever needed.
2- Model Gratitude
Another way to model good behavior is to talk with them about gratitude each day and foster an “attitude of gratitude”. Start off by finding 3 things for which you can be thankful at the current moment. Then help the child do the same. Gratitude internalizes with the person so it builds their appreciation for life as a whole instead of only focusing on its problems.
3- Be Consistent
One of the most important things you can do as a role model is to be consistent with your behavior and expectations. This means setting clear boundaries and expectations for how you will treat each other from the outset, and consistently upholding them. This allows children to clearly define positive behaviors and practice these good behaviors without feeling like the grown-up is “moving the goalposts.”
4- Be Patient
Patience is a virtue, and one that parents and teachers need to have in spades. Children move at their own pace and often need things explained multiple times or in different ways before they really understand. It can be frustrating at times, but try to remember that everyone learns differently and that patience really does pay off in the end.
5- Be Kind
Kindness goes a long way, both in how you treat a child and how you expect them to treat others. Show them compassion when they make mistakes and teach them how to empathize with others when they hurt someone’s feelings—intentionally or not. Help them understand that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
6- Maintain Fair and Realistic Expectations
Of course, it’s amazing for children when they see adults striving towards tangible goals with intention and focus. It inspires them to set big, attainable dreams of their own, and fuels still more inspirational energy into their pursuits. This can be a great life lesson for them; however, the effect is even stronger when kids witness adults treating themselves kindly and with grace when things don’t go as expected. Seeing adults extend patience, understanding, and acceptance to their own stumbles teaches a necessary example of how mistakes should be taken, understood, and overcome by each and every person.
When it comes to setting expectations for children’s behavior, there should be realistic goals in mind. For example, even though you may want them to stay in their chair during dinner at a restaurant, this might not be realistically achievable given their stage of development. It is completely normal for children to need to move around and release their energy through expressive movements. Keeping mindful of this will result in more successful goal setting.
But What Do You Do When Things Go South?
It’s important to remember that you’re not perfect and that it’s okay to show children that you’re human. The key is to model good behavior through appropriate responses to negative emotions. Here are some tips on how to do that.
When You’re Frustrated:
It’s inevitable that you’re going to feel frustrated from time to time. And when you do, it’s important to model appropriate behavior for children. First, take a deep breath and try to calm down. Once you’ve done that, communicate calmly and clearly. For example, “I’m frustrated because I can’t find my keys. But I’m going to keep looking until I find them.” Finally, offer a solution or ask for help if needed. This will show your child that it’s okay to feel frustrated, but it’s important to deal with those feelings in a constructive way.
When You’re Angry:
Anger is a normal emotion, but it’s essential to handle it in a healthy way. Finding and using calming strategies are necessary for regulating one’s emotions and avoiding negative outcomes. One way to considerably cool down following an upsetting event is by engaging in activities that promote mindfulness, such as deep breathing exercises. Keeping tools like this handy ensures healthier contributions within conversations or arguments while obtaining superiority over formidable circumstances.
Modeling good behavior for children takes time and effort, but it’s so worth it when you see your child growing into a kind, responsible young person. Just remember to be consistent, patient, and kind yourself—after all, children learn best by example! It’s important to remember that you’re not perfect, and that it’s okay to show your child that you’re human. The key is to model appropriate responses to negative emotions. By doing this, you’ll be teaching your child how to deal with difficult situations in a constructive way—and setting them up for success in the future.
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