Teaching by example is powerful! As adults, we must model the behavior we want to see in children. When we lead, guide, and help children improve their choices, we are guiding them along paths that will give them the best chance for growth, happiness, and success.
Children do not automatically know what constitutes appropriate behavior. Because they are natural imitators, children model themselves after important adults in their lives. They learn likes and dislikes, interests, manners, and morals through imitation. If we want children to respect the rights and feelings of others, we must begin by respecting the rights and feelings of children.
In managing conflicts, you can blow up, shout, and get wild-eyed and red-faced, or you can conduct yourself in a manner that models the way you want children to act when they face conflict. Children will notice how you approach stressful situations, resolve conflicts, solve problems, and conduct yourself around other adults and children.
As a child caregiver, you are a role model. Speak and act in ways you want children to speak and act. Research indicates that the adult model is still the most influential source of learning for children. If you notice and appreciate something a child has done, you could either say nothing to the child, thank the child for the kindness, or inappropriately announce that the child has finally done something right. You appreciate it if someone acknowledges what you have done well and right. By expressing sincere appreciation for something a child has done you model an appropriate behavior. Consistent, positive role modeling can result in children responding to you and others in similar ways.