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Teach by Example



As parents we want to teach our children the important lessons of life. Recently, during this COVID19 crisis parents have had more time to interact with their children. What life lessons do we want our children to learn and what is the best way to go about it?


We want our children to be brave and trusting. There are a lot of scary things going on and we want our children to know how to live with the uncertainties yet not be fearful. We want to teach them about what they can control and what they cannot. We want to show by example how to stay safe, to do what we can, and not let fear control us. We can demonstrate and talk about what we are doing to stay safe and the importance of letting go of fears about what we cannot change. We also show love for each other. We laugh. We show gratitude. We enjoy the life we have.


While doing more homeschooling, I think most of us would want to impart the importance of having good reading and critical thinking skills. I imagine most parents have been reading to their children very early on. And you probably discussed some of these early stories. But how many of you have let your children see you read? And have your children been privy to discussions with your friends or significant other about what you have read? How many of you have been working on online classes and continuing your education?


We want our children to live in such a way that they will maintain good health. We feed them healthy foods and talk about the benefits of those foods. we see that they drink water and exercise regularly. But, are we doing the same for ourselves? Do our children see us eating healthy foods, drinking our water, and setting aside exercise times for ourselves?


While living in close quarters all day, it is easy for our homes to get unorganized and messy. It’s great if you let your children know that you have expectations of them to help with housework and to clean their rooms. It is equally important that you demonstrate the importance of keeping your home clean by keeping up with chores yourself and not complaining about them. Don’t make statements like, “I’m tired. I’ll do the laundry another day.” or “I hate cleaning the bathrooms. Let’s just skip it for now.” If you make statements like this, then expect to hear a variation from your children.


On a different note on the same subject, accept your children’s efforts without criticism. If they make their bed but the covers are crooked, don’t straighten the covers. If they put their books in a container or on the shelves and they are not in the order you would like, don’t change it or criticize it. If you follow up their work by making corrections, you are telling the child that their efforts are not good enough. Praise their efforts. Work with them sometimes in their rooms. Let them work with you sometimes with your chores. Teach them by example.


For more help with teaching young children organizing skills, check out the books Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room.

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