Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be careful what you do

“Be careful what you say and do; your children are watching you!”

I have heard this phrase many times, but leave it to my 17 month old to prove it true.

My husband, Josh, was driving one day and was sitting at a stop sign patiently waiting his turn.  He “kindly” hollered, “Go! Go!” to the person who should be going through the stop sign.  Emory, our little back seat driver, also hollered, “Go!” with as much emphasis as Daddy.  We burst out laughing as we realized that little ears hear so much and can repeat what is said at a very early age.  I was just glad Josh didn’t say, “Go, idiot!”

It reminded me of the first time we learned the lesson on how quickly children can observe and repeat what we say.  When Preston was a little older than Emory is now, he was climbing in and out of a bucket.  The bucket tipped and Preston fell out.  He stood up saying, “Dad gum it.”  I looked at Josh with a knowing smile and said, “That sounded just like me.”  This was the first moment that Josh and I truly appreciated the importance of watching what comes out of our mouths and making sure that we keep it as minor as “Dad gum it.”

It is one thing to hear our children repeat what we say, but it’s another when we see them do things that we didn’t know we were teaching them.

Each night we read books to Preston and Emory before we tuck them into bed.  What I didn’t realize was how much they observe as we’re reading to them.  I thought that perhaps their minds drifted to far-away places as we read the stories each night.  So, I was caught by surprise when a couple of weeks ago, I got a glimpse of what Emory has been observing over the last seventeen months.  As she was “reading” her book, this is what I learned about her observations.

I couldn’t believe that this subconscious move would be something that she would imitate.  What proof that kids observe even the smallest details!  I must admit, though, I believe Emory is a little more dramatic than we are when we turn the page of a book.

So, be careful what you say and do; your children are watching you!

Have your children surprised you by repeating something you’ve said or done?

Julie Swink is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mother of two.

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