20 Little Habits you Might Want Your Kids to Imitate

by Alissa Marquess on August 20, 2014

What will they imitate?

They imitate our words, our tone of voice, even our facial expressions. It can be frustrating when they copy the things we wish they wouldn’t, but they’ll imitate the good too. Just as they imitate kindness, they’ll imitate other simple and good habits.  

20 Little Habits

Case File: Parenting Ideas

Your Parenting Secret Mission:

Let the kids see you doing something you hope they will imitate.

Children are amazing imitators – the difficulty is that they are not always the best interpreters of what they see, so sometimes we need to slow down and consider what model we are giving them.  

For instance, I use digital media all the time – I write on a keyboard, and I adore the fact that my library offers digital books to check out – now that I can read on a phone screen that will light up I am back to reading lots and lots and LOTS again.

The thing is, my kids don’t always realize that I’m doing something like reading a book or writing an article – it all looks the same.  Mama is sitting at a computer or with a phone.  I make a point to talk about what I do, but even more powerful than talking is what they see that they can imitate – like letting them see me write in a notebook or read a physical book.

What will they imitate

20 Simple Habits for Kids to Imitate

  1. Reading a book
  2. Writing a journal, a letter or a thank you note
  3. Doing a craft you love. (It’s not always easy with kids around, but do they see you taking care of yourself and nurturing your interests?)
  4. Playing an instrument, or listening to music you love.
  5. Carefully putting away an item you want to keep safe
  6. Taking a walk
  7. Taking time to stop and admire beauty – point it out
  8. Pausing to be grateful before you eat
  9. Trying new foods
  10. Talking with your elders – listening to grandparents or “adopted” grandparents with respect and interest
  11. Managing your frustration calmly when you can’t find something
  12. Putting you dish right into the dishwasher
  13. Offering a guest a glass of water or other refreshment
  14. Talking about your family in a positive way
  15. Talking about your business or work in a positive way
  16. Being polite to cashiers, clerks and other service staff
  17. Finding the “silver lining” in annoying situations
  18. Pushing in your chair
  19. Laughing about getting rained on, splashed on or other slight mishaps
  20. Smiling often – this habit is inspired by the grin inducing chapter on “Mouth Yoga” in the book Momfulness (Amazon affiliate link) by Denise Roy. I appreciate her reminder that the simple act of smiling can make the difference between feeling stressed and feeling grateful.  Now that’s something I want my kids to imitate.

What simple habit would you add to the list?

Today, consider a habit you’d love to see your kids pick up and let them see you do it.

Parenting Secret Missions are quick ideas for connecting with your kids, trying out a new parenting idea, finding gratitude amidst chaos, sparking conversation and finally, inspiring fun!  Don’t take them too seriously, read them with a spirit of adventure or experimenting and keep the mission in mind for the day if it strikes you.

22 comments
Traleigh Babbitt
Traleigh Babbitt

Find that one person in the room who feels sad or insecure and make them feel loved and accepted.

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

Vicki B Bondi - self care is a great one - and a work in progress for me too!

Donna Pallot
Donna Pallot

apologise. My kids were stunned when I apologised recently. I said that just because I'm a mum docent mean I never make mistakes.

Lucia Garner
Lucia Garner

My mom always made a big pot of chicken soup (Italian version) whenever she heard that someone was sick in bed.  I can remember so many, many times delivering soup to friends of ours or acquaintances and neighbors.  My grandmother did the same thing as a mother many years earlier in New York.  I do the same and I hope that my children will keep the tradition going.

Angela Todd
Angela Todd

I love #10, and my kids are getting the hang of it.  The Big Bang Theory helps us with #13.  :)

I would add:

Lose gracefully

Give up your anger, and say so.  Whether it's the latest election, the neighbor, the mechanic, your spouse. Feel it and let it go.  That's always been a hard one for me, esp if someone hurt my feelings.


I love this! xx A


JenniferRenshawHolbert
JenniferRenshawHolbert

Thank a veteran for his service! They are often wearing a hat or shirt that identifies them. If you see someone, stop them and thank them with a handshake.

Michelle Cravens
Michelle Cravens

Reading through this list, I'm aware of how many of these I observed my parents doing while I was growing up. They set a great example for me to follow and I find joy in being able to set an example for my own child.

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

Claire Hafer Spampinato - I really love the simplicity of sharing your food and sharing hugs

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

Ooh, that's a good one and a life long lesson. Claire Hafer Spampinato

Claire Hafer Spampinato
Claire Hafer Spampinato

Sharing my food. Sharing hugs. Being kind to grumpy people. Being kind and respectful to homeless people: making eye contact, greeting them, maybe even offering a hug. Trying new things. Seeing the adventure in a situation instead of fear or disappointment.

Candice Lee Towers
Candice Lee Towers

I love seeing my daughter complimenting people & smiling & saying hello! Being polite & friendly is one trait I love about her!!

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

Ha, that makes sense yes. Unless it's a habit you actually want to have...This is getting circular...Stephanie James

Stephanie James
Stephanie James

Yes but don't start a new habit because it's a quality you want them to have... If that makes sense?

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

I love it when I'm inside and my kids run in from out back to grab me so I don't miss a rainbow, a beautiful cloud, that kind of thing - makes me feel good that they know I want to pause and enjoy with them.

Annie-Laurie Pettit Yeiser
Annie-Laurie Pettit Yeiser

Perfect! I love noticing and commenting on nature's beauty, and I'm reminded when my children point out a colorful sunset. ☀️Children absolutely mirror our habits, our joys...

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  1. […] a valuable learning experience. Remember when you make a mistake that your kids are watching and as the worlds best imitators, they will imitate your response when they make their own […]

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