They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but for children copying their parents isn’t just a fun thing to do (although they do tend to enjoy it). It’s about learning, growing up, experiencing things, and finding out how things work. Just what can your child learn by copying you every day?
For human beings, it’s important to be able to interact with one another. Children may not have this ability instinctively, but by watching their parents or other adults around them interacting with people they come into contact with, they can soon learn. It can range from hugging a family member when they see them, to kissing someone goodbye. It can show the difference between greeting someone they’ve never met before, and seeing a friend out of the context of school. If you think carefully, you will see that there are many different ways of interacting with the different kids of people we meet. Many of them are instinct or habit for adults, and by copying you, children will learn what to do, and become polite members of society.
Children – particularly very young children – have no concept of their own safety, so it is important that a parent teach them what is safe and what isn’t around the home, and out and about. Take the kitchen, for example. When taking something out of the oven, remember to wear oven gloves to protect your hands, and your child will want to do the same, and understand that the oven is hot at the same time. Or when you get in the car and put your seatbelt on before starting off. Or when you look both ways crossing the road. Or even when you leave the house and you switch off electrical devices and lock the door. These little things that you do without even thinking about, are being watched very carefully by your curious, interested child. So make them count.
Learning language is essential for children, and it is something that parents can teach them from an early age. Children will listen and understand much sooner than they can speak, so keep your language child-friendly whenever you are around them, even if you think they can’t possibly understand what you are talking about. No one wants their child to blurt out something embarrassing in the store!
It’s true, children can indeed learn happiness. They can also learn negativity. This is why it is important to show a positive attitude when you are around your little ones, to encourage them to feel the same. Although this can sometimes be hard, maintaining a positive outlook through the darkest times will help them as they get older and have to face difficulties themselves. A happy, smiling parent is always a much better teacher than a negative, worried one. Keep in mind that you can always speak to someone who can help you if you are feeling down or depressed, but that if you can keep those feelings away from your children whenever possible it will benefit not only them, but you as well.