These days, one won’t miss the sight of toddlers being able to maneuver their way in playing a computer game or browse the internet using a gadget while you’re in a subway, a restaurant or in the park. You would know instantly that those children are exposed to the use of gadgets or are living in a home where adults are frequently using computers and mobile phones for games and entertainment.
Sometimes, it would make one cringe thinking about the risks that a child is exposed to when he is introduced to gadgets at an early age. However, no matter how an outsider would talk a child out of it, if his environment tolerates the use of gadget, it will be difficult to make him avoid the use of mobile phones or PC.
Children undergo different stages of learning. They learn the most basic information when they are still a baby, and they move on to understanding more complex concepts as they grow older. A habit that started at an early age would most probably be carried by the child up to adulthood. That’s why it becomes a problematic scenario if someone wants to change a child’s unhealthy habits when the people who surround him practice those habits themselves.
Imparting the correct values on kids these days is very important, especially with issues on bullying, substance abuse, violence, and discrimination among others knocking on each doorstep every single day due to its proliferation on the digital world. Parents would find it very challenging on how they can prepare their kids to adopt the proper behavior when sooner or later they will meet new friends in school and experience conflict themselves.
So how should one teach kids positive values? The best way to teach children better is to know how they learn things from their environment.
Kids Learn from Their Environment
The child adapts easily in his environment, and according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children look up to role models, who are first and foremost their parents or caregivers. Since infancy, the kids imitate other people’s behaviors. They learn through their senses. And these behaviors manifest how they relate to people, how they perform in school, and even their views in life. This is one of the reasons why it’s important for children to have a positive role model in life.
Kids should know why adults do what they do
But teaching kids to acquire the values of a positive role model, do not just happen quickly. Child development specialists suggest that it is also good for role models to explain why they do such things. In an article published in the U.S. News in 2013, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, “Smart Parenting for Smart Kids” author, explained that kids learn more with engagement and explanation.
A children’s mind works in amazing ways that allow them to absorb a massive amount of information even in their early years. They not just receive information and store it on their memory, but, through active engagement and experiences, they play an active role in their brains’ development.
When Adults are not Doing What They Say
On the other hand, Kennedy-Moore warned that kids are capable of noticing hypocrisy when an adult breaks his or her own rules. She said that the old mantra of telling the child to: “Do as I say, not as I do” do not work.
A study in 2008 also found out that families can influence their children’s adoption of risk and safety practices. The study revealed that while the behaviors of children reflect their parent’s teachings, the children’s plan on how they will behave when they become adults is based on how their parents’ act.
Teaching Kids by Example at Home
From their early years, children will start acquiring habits and behaviors they seen outside their homes. They will start looking up to their teachers and admire their classmates. But even when kids spend half of their active time in school during the class season, parental involvement in the child’s learning is still the most significant factor for a child to be successful in life.
If one wants his or her child to become a better person, the best thing to do is for the adults to adopt positive behaviors and practices themselves. Here are some ways how you can do it:
- Don’t preach, but do. Adapting positive behaviors require the adults to change their bad habits. Teaching a child to respect people is hard if the kid sees disrespect in the house. The kids will think it is the norm and so they will conform to it. Remember, empathy and respect, like most positive behaviors, are values best taught at home.
- Pay attention to the kid. Even when a child is still a toddler, talking to them and asking them proper questions will help them communicate better. When a child shows an artwork he finished in the afternoon, parents should refrain from being contented with responding that the artwork looks good before grabbing the mobile phone again or getting back to work. Parents should engage in conversations and ask what that picture shows, why the child did it, how did the child do it, and why he or she chose that color. Building good relationships with people start at home too.
- Allow kids to experience life. Children will not learn things when they don’t get to experience it themselves. Parents should limit their kids’ use of gadgets to encourage them to interact more with other people and to have them experience things themselves.
- Have fun with the kids. The kids’ experiences from their childhood make a mark on their lives when they grow up. Spending time with them will help them have a support group whom they can connect to. It provides them with assurance and parents also get to reinforce the kid’s positive behavior, helping their child to make it a habit.