Children will follow and mimic things they see and hear
The old adage “monkey see monkey do” holds true in a child’s behavioral development. From infancy to adolescence, children learn how to interact with their environment by mimicking the behavior of others, either at home, school, on social media, or on TV. This process of observational learning is a cornerstone of socialization, as it allows children to learn how to communicate, express themselves, and form relationships. It’s mimicking in all senses of the word.
Other versions include: WHAT MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO, MONKEY DO MONKEY SEE
Parents and guardians play an important role in this process, as they are typically the first people to serve as models for children. As children grow, they begin to observe the behavior of their peers and other adults in their lives, enabling them to further refine their skills in communication and socialization, both positive and negative. My son always comes home with something he picked up at school, either a dance move, a Taekwondo move, or some new words.
Ultimately, the “monkey see, monkey do” principle is essential to a child’s development, as it provides them with the necessary tools to become an effective and compassionate member of their community. My son mimics me eating spicy Korean ramen all the time as well as so many other things I do *good things*…of course.
What is meant by monkey see monkey do?
This expression suggests that someone learns by imitating without understanding the reasons behind it or considering the repercussions.
what are The origins of monkey see monkey do?
It is said that the phrase “Monkey See, Monkey Do” had its start in Jamaica during the early 1700s and became commonplace in the US in the 1920s. It’s considered an older term but is still used today.
Role of Parents in Observational Learning
Children take on many of their lifestyle habits, both positive and negative, by copying their parents. The age-old saying “Monkey See, Monkey Do” is especially applicable here. The examples that parents set are highly influential to their children.
Many parents encourage their children to practice healthy habits, but then fail to follow their own advice. Kids will tend to do what their parents do, not what they say. Those parents who lead an unhealthy lifestyle of overeating, drinking soda, eating fast food, and not exercising often see their children following in their footsteps. This can lead to an overweight or obese child.
The same goes with smoking parents, it’s well documented that teens are FAR more likely to start smoking if their parents are smokers. Sucks! Just don’t smoke…I still don’t understand this nasty habit. I’m lucky not to be in these statistics as both my mom and dad smoked and many of my family members did as well…but not MOI…Non, non.
How Children Mimic Others
Has your little one ever followed you around the house imitating everything you did? Or, did he ever drink his milk the way you drink your coffee, or hold mommy’s purse the same way you help her with her purse? Monkey see Monkey do!
I remember pretending to be Rambo, Commando and Chuck Norris when I was young. Don’t we all tend to mimic what we see outside or on TV? It’s human nature no? Maybe primate nature…
How Children Learn From Peers
Think about this one… did you come up with the word TIKTOK? From all the social media ‘shorts’ on different platforms showing things from eating Tide Pods to dancing beside a moving car, people respond to these very well. (Unfortunately for humanity)
Girls want to look a certain way because they saw something online, the same thing goes for boys. It’s nothing new, just more mainstream.
I’m sure you remember your mom telling you to be careful with who you hung around with. I’m also sure that’s what you’re telling your kids. Because as parents we know our kids will learn from their peers, good and bad. Gotta make sure it’s as good as possible.
It’s not all ‘doom and gloom.’ It’s a lot to do with simply fitting in. Your child will find their way, no worries.
Tips for Parents and Guardians
Control the screen time people! (Yours and theirs). No, I’m not your daddy! But, please if you want your kids to communicate with you, play with you, not need eye-glasses at an early age, pay attention to you, eat with you at the dinner table, talk about their day, and not have a terrible posture and overall be more sociable, get off your phones at home.
Unless it’s for educational purposes, the damn phone should be put on a shelf and kept there until the allowed time comes. Monkey see your phone, and Monkey plays on their phone. Simple! Daddy Monkey smokes, Baby Monkey smokes. You gotta take that lead.
Family time is precious and phones are ruining this precious time all over the world. Play a board game, have a convo, or simply go take a walk together. They will mimic your moves, so make the first one.
‘Walk the walk and talk the talk’ —They’ll follow. It’s important to start good habits at a young age, as it’ll be ingrained in them by the time they grow up. It could be diet, exercise, studying or the way they talk to others, it’s all learned at home.
Monkey see monkey do…final thoughts.
The importance of observational learning is undeniable. This process serves as the foundation for social and emotional development, as well as cognitive development. Children learn how to interact with others and establish healthy relationships by observing others in their environment. Parents’ behaviors are especially influential in their children’s social and emotional development.
Some say “kids are like sponges, they absorb everything.” So true! Make sure they’re absorbing the right stuff. I’m sure you’ve been at your child’s school looking at the other students wondering ‘what the hell happened to those little brats?’… Monkey saw and Monkey is still doing. It all starts at home…
It’s not rocket science. Teach well. Teach happily. Teach simply. Teach gently.
So what ca you do today? Take away their phone. And don’t limit screen time. You can also do what you do best; be kind, patient, and loving. And those are the best ways to go, whether at home or in the workplace.
Remember, they are only young once!
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