From a young age, children pick up habits and words from all sources. TV, the playground, and school are a few places where children experience interactions. However, the main source of your child’s language and mannerism is you, and it’s important be aware of what and how you speak around them.
Imagine that you stub your toe or hit your elbow on the corner of the table and shout an obscenity. You turn around and notice your kid probably heard it. You don’t make a big deal out of it, but it catches you off guard when you hear them say the same thing next time they get hurt around the house. It definitely won’t be nice to hear it, but remember who they heard it from.
Now think about the same scenario, but instead it’s at school. Your child’s teacher may be a little shocked to hear your kid explain, “but mommy says it at home.”
Arely Angel, Manassas Park Community Center’s Lead Preschool Teacher, said, “Children are like sponges. They’ll absorb words and behavior around them.” She pointed out that even when we don’t notice our own negative behavior, children will immediately pick up on it and imitate it. “It’s important to understand that as parents, we are their role models. They will do as we do and say as we say,” Angel added.
Parents can’t control all their children’s interactions with the world, so the best you can do is teach them at home! There’s a reason child-friendly TV shows play happy songs. They’re used as a way to teach children how to effectively communicate using appropriate words. This is especially important as children communicate with each other, as they will pick up (and take home) behaviors and words from their schoolmates.
When speaking about negative behavior, Angel said, “When that kind of behavior happens, and it certainly will, we have to teach our children to see the positive instead.” She explained how she uses art as a way to help children channel their anger in class. When a child is angry, she often sees children color or paint with dark reds and purples, but eventually they switch to vibrant colors like yellows and pinks. “Art is a great way for children to redirect their anger into something positive. Parents can also do this at home to change negative habits,” she said.
While you don’t have to change the way you express yourself, it’s always important to be mindful of where you are and who is around you. Always remember that your child’s actions and language reflect your own!
At the Manassas Park Community Center, our staff knows the importance of positive language and expression. Our Preschool program is designed to help your child develop positive habits and manners. Registration is now open!
by Eliut Morales
The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, special events, and recreational classes. For more