Be someone you want your child to imitate
Welcome to Day 20 of 30 Days to Waldorf-Inspired Preschool at Home! (To start at the beginning, just click here!)
Today’s task is to be someone you want your child to imitate.
Young children learn through imitation. They have an unconscious impulse to imitate. They are always taking in information from their environment and they don’t have the capacity to make judgments about that information - it’s all fodder for imitation.
This is a powerful opportunity for you as a parent! You can teach so much just in the way you yourself behave.
Of course it’s a liability too. Your child is learning from you all the time even when you’re not at your best.
Most of all it can be an excellent motivation to strive for your best. You don’t need to be perfect - nobody is. But when you reach for a higher potential within yourself your child does as well. When you take good care of yourself your child learns to do the same. When you apologize and learn from your mistakes your child notices. When you speak kindly and treat people with respect your child will eventually imitate you.
I’m not at all suggesting that if you are on perfect behavior your child always will be too (and that kind of expectation for either of you sounds a like recipe for a meltdown). I’m not suggesting that out-of-bounds behavior is your fault or that your child must have learned to hit that other kid on the playground from you. What I am suggesting is that your child is watching you all the time (more than you realize) and your own behaviors, attitudes, emotions, words, and reactions are a powerful influence. So wield them wisely and with care!
Parenting is harder than you thought it would be, right? Yeah, it is for me too. And that right there is a recipe for growth.
How to be someone you want your child to imitate:
1. When you are concerned about your child’s behavior or a discipline issue, look at yourself first. Is there anything that you’ve modeled for your child in the past that you want to be more careful about? Is there a possibility to teach your child through imitation now? Do you need to grow in order to help your child do the same?
2. Please take good care of yourself. You deserve it, and your child deserves to see that role-modeled for her. Self-care will help you be a better parent.
3. Any inner work practice that you develop will be so, so helpful to you as a parent. Meditation, prayer, Steiner’s inner work exercises, journaling, making art, or anything else you do to become more grounded in your spirituality and your clarity is perfect.