Good Parenting Practices: Ways to Model Behavior for Children

Parents, we’ve all been there. We expect perfect behavior from our children, yet we don’t always model it. From the casual slip of a four-letter word to staying up late watching TV, our kids pick up on our behavior more than we realize. If you're in the middle of a divorce, it's even more important to model good behavior and provide your kids with a stable environment and consistent parenting.

Here are ways to teach your kids manners, etiquette and respectful behavior for a handful of everyday situations, from dining out to acts of kindness.

Restaurant Manners

Taking small kids out to a restaurant can be the stuff of nightmares. However, appropriate restaurant behavior should be taught at home. If your child prefers eating with his or her hands instead of a fork or spoon or if you can’t get your tot to take a seat at the table for dinner, you might have a hard time out in public.

childrenAt home, instead of eating in front of the TV or in separate rooms, assemble everyone to eat together as a family. Teach your child why it’s important to have manners, to always say please and thank you, and to always clear his or her plate from the table.

Remember, be firm when teaching. You might have to use discipline in these situations. However, by modeling good behavior, such as eating as a family and demonstrating your own dinner etiquette, your child might just pick up on your behavior.

Cellphone Etiquette

Chances are good that your child has a cellphone. According to data reported by ABC News, 53 percent of our nation’s kids have a cellphone at age six. This data comes from a survey conducted by Voucher Cloud, which asked 2,290 parents what type of everyday tech items they had purchased for their kids.

So if most kids have a cellphone at age six, you have to teach smart cellphone behavior early, and model it as a parent, too. If your child sees you spending a lot of time on your phone — checking emails, texting or playing games — it’s likely that he or she will mimic your behavior. Involve your child in cellphone usage in a healthy way. Play a game together or record and edit a family video on a smartphone such as the LG V10.

Be sure to set rules and guidelines for cellphone use around the house and establish a timeframe when the entire family goes tech-free, around dinnertime and before bedtime, for example. Modeling this type of healthy behavior will ensure that your child grows up with a sense of cellphone etiquette.

Caring for Others

Are you a charitable person? Do you spend time volunteering in your community? Your commitment to charity and community directly impacts your kids. If you’re not currently involved in any community groups, consider joining one or creating your own with your peers and like-minded parents.

Simply giving to charity is not enough. Parents and their kids should be involved with a hands-on organization. However, be cautious here. Consider the age of your child and the type of work required for the charity. Children are often too young to be helpful at a charitable activity, but parents can start teaching charity at home by talking to their children about the importance of giving to others.