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Behavior: are you modeling what you want?

Date: March 15th, 2017
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Kids start to role-model behavior at the age of two years old, which means they bring to us some baggage that they have observed along the way. All the time that they’re in the back of the car in the car seat, they’re learning stuff. Think about that.

Now you’re all thinking about that. “Oh man, I have a little kid. What am I doing?” [laughs] I always say kids are not born knowing how to give the finger from the car seat. They watch what happens up ahead of them. They’ve got a bird’s eye view of you.

Which is exactly what the kids in your classroom have. You have a kid who all of a sudden is going off under a table and they won’t come out from underneath the table. It’s the one time the rest of the kids are watching you. You ever notice that? They’re watching to see how you’re going to handle it.

If I freak out and call five people, and they all come running with walkie talkies…I love this one, when you have kids that are running down the hall. The adults are on their walkie-talkies, “We’ve got a 22 and 1 26. All right. Call reinforcements.” About five adults come running, and the kid is under the table. Now, the kid sees five adults looking at him. He’s like, “Wow, this is cool! I’m running the place!”


Be careful about what you think is uncontrolled behavior versus controlled behavior, because to me that’s very controlled behavior. But, long story short, kids are watching how you’re going to respond to it. That’s where they’re picking up their information on how they’re going to respond to similar situations.