Modeling behaviors for our kids

I saw a post yesterday that was talking about “things we model for our kids”, whether we realize it or not. It made me pause and think for a minute about some of them.

I don’t think parents need to add MORE pressure to themselves, as in “oh my gosh, my kids are watching, I need to be perfect!!” But it seems reasonable to at least keep this in mind, and be aware that our actions might be our kids’ very best teacher. (And, if we screw up- we can just use that as an opportunity to model humility/ forgiveness/ admitting our mistakes! 😆)

Some examples they listed were:

  • relationships with technology
  • how we deal with frustration
  • how we solve problems
  • how we take care of ourselves
  • how we apologize and repair
  • how we ask for help
  • how we handle mistakes
  • how we navigate conflict
  • how we approach differences
  • how we care for animals
  • how we care for our environment
  • how we listen

Then I got thinking, on an even broader scope…things like:

  • how we approach gift giving!
  • how we manage our family finances
  • how we handle household chores/ labor division between mom and dad
  • how we spend our free time/ leisure time
  • our standards of neatness or cleanliness (or even hygiene!)
  • what we do when faced with situations of truth vs. lie
  • our standards for what it means to complete a task or job- when is it “done”?
  • how we treat the busboy at the restaurant, the lady mopping the floor, etc.
  • our own personal integrity- do we do what we said we would? why or why not? Do we hold ourselves accountable?
  • how much value we place on traditions (ex. holidays!)
  • how do we interact in conversations? Do we always interrupt others? Or are we good listeners?
  • do we default to complaining, or finding the positive?
  • do we always leave a place better than we found it, or will “someone else clean it up”?

ETCETRA! I’d never really stopped to think too much about this before. I mean, obviously I know the kids learn from us, and I frequently try to talk them through “life skills”/ how to be a good human. But I’m probably on autopilot in some areas.

I especially like the one about “how we use technology”- how many of us are staring at our phones all day, and then wonder why our kids think it’s normal for them to stare at a phone all day?

The good news is, I think overall I’m a pretty good person who behaves (generally) in a pretty good way! So, hopefully the boys are picking up more good habits than bad. haha. But it’s definitely something to think about. How can I model more acts of service? Generosity? Integrity? Positivity? Etc.

(I’m not sure if this is all true though- I mean, I never, ever leave toothpaste in the sink, but the kids don’t seem to get the memo there.. just sayin’. 😁)

Random photo of my latest nighttime drink….just hot water with 2 lemon slices squeezed in. I usually always drink tea, but I’m not a huge herbal tea fan. I default to (caffeinated) black tea, but I’ve been wondering lately if drinking tea at night has caused me to have some occasional sleep issues. So I’ve been trying this hot water/ lemon combo and I’m actually loving it!

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for gloves. It is COLD this week.

4 thoughts on “Modeling behaviors for our kids”

  1. My favorite tea is a decaf Harvey & Sons (I think that’s the brand?) cinnamon tea. So if you like cinnamon, I highly recommend it! I can not have caffeine after noon or it messes with me. You’d think the exhaustion of young kids + night wake-ups would override caffeine, but it doesn’t.

    This is a good thing to think about! There is so much modeling that we do for our children. We really thought about this after taking an online course about emotional regulation to help us deal with Pablo’s tantrums. It talked about how until they can regulate their emotions, your ability to regulate emotions is the most important as they will sort of take on how you are handling it (so the calmer you can stay in the moment, the better). The course also emphasized talking about emotions or things we are struggling with or demonstrating that we get frustrated, too, and to show how you deal with your frustration. So we’ve talked more about how we are feeling/how our days went/what was hard. Some of it probably goes over Paul’s head but maybe he’ll pick up some of it?

    The phone thing is something I’ve thought about quite a bit. So I always have IG/FB lock me out from 4:30-6:30 as that was usually when I should have been focusing on the kids. I’m off social media now, probably for 4-6 weeks or maybe until the end of Lent? We’ll see… So I think I will inevitably be on my phone less, except for all the pictures I take using it! But it is interesting how Will is already drawn to my phone, probably because it lights up. He’s also drawn to remotes so clearly anything with buttons is alluring to him. But he really likes to grab my phone!


  2. I’ve thought about the phone one a lot, too. My oldest is nearing the age where she’ll have more access to technology. At this point I think she has a lot less screen time than most kids her age? But they spend a lot of time on computers at school, now, especially since COVID and they’re trying to get everyone very computer literate for online learning…and the simple fact that so much of life and learning happens online these days, pandemic aside.
    For a while I was physically turning off my phone (not just the ringer) for several hours after they got home from school, but I definitely can default to using my phone even when they’re around (mostly because of texts coming in).
    Definitely room for improvement here.

    We had a long talk about “filling” and “emptying” each others tanks today; it was mostly in the context of some sibling dynamics lately that have been really exhausting me, but it felt good to both discuss it openly AND to come up with concrete antidotes. As they get older, I do appreciate how we can mutually learn from each other in these areas of conflict resolution. We’ll see if some of the action items they suggested manage to stick…

    And because this week has been such a doozy and I’m digging deep for gratitude and seeing the prompt above the comment box made me smile, I’m grateful for:
    1) Leftovers
    2) How the smell of the Christmas tree is filling the whole house.
    3) Hot showers
    4) The Christmas decorations in our downtown. Stunning.
    5) For my favourite cafe and for my new (older and wiser) friend who is so keen to meet and mentor me once a week. I feel like I should start paying her to be my therapist.
    6) Bedtime.
    7) That tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.


  3. this is so true and I’m super self conscious now that I have two girls. I want to improve myself as they copy everything that I do. with technology, i try to not use phone in front of them during non-working hours, and when i have to i tell them that there’s something urgent/important that I need to do for work. that’s also why i am frustrated that daddy is addicted to phone, not for work but for everything else. i guess I can only control what’s i can control, and hope my girls learn more from the good behaved one 🙂


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