Teaching vs. Telling

Text Books and Life Skills

Just this week I had a mom say to me that the word BEHAVE is subjective and has no meaning to a child., and, that the poster I share is, too. Well, she did make me think to say the least! Think about it, how many times have you said to a child, ‘BEHAVE‘? We take for granted that a child understands the English language, or, any language for that matter.All words have meaning. How do you understand the word? As talked about in my previous  blog, you can tell a child that the water is wet, but, how do they know this to be true? When you tell a child to behave, what does it mean, what does it look like and how does it make them feel?  I’d like to share some ideas and reminders how we can get a message, and understanding of a word across to our children. First;


Do we really remember, or, are we aware that a child is listening to what we say? You may be talking with a friend and feel that you’re using a quiet voice, but, kids have bionic hearing, and if you say something like a curse word, they’ll hear it and you’ll later regret it!  They are watching what we do and probably wanting to be like us when they grow up. For something as simple as not picking up after ourselves, or, not listening to what others have to say. It’s up to us to model good character and to make the best choices we can at the time so that our own children will grow up to make better choices. Let’s face it, if we carry out good habits during the day, so will our children. If they hear you speaking kind words and positive affirmations during the day, they probably  will too. If they see you performing acts of kindness and helping others, they probably will, too. This will become a way of life for them and make an impact to all of those around, in your home and in your community.

So, remember the old cliche’  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Copy and paste this link and you can use the characters as coloring pages, sticker charts, references, etc. Remember, when you write to the characters, they always write back! S.A.S.E. please.








Let’s take the word BEHAVE. It means absolutely nothing to a child if they do not understand the meaning. Here are some steps to help teach the word and a child understand what is expected from it. But first, think about the who, what, where, when and why of a word. I like to use references myself, this helps me to remember.

  1. Who has good behavior? Point out to a child who they know that has good behavior, and why.
  2. Who has bad behavior? Point out to a child who they know that has poor behavior, and why.
  3. What does good behavior look like and what does poor behavior look like, point out the difference.
  4. Where should you have good behavior? Once a child understands the meaning, they will want to have good behavior to please you, but, reference to them how it makes them feel when they have good behavior, too. While it makes you feel proud, ask them how it makes them feel when they have good behavior, too.
  5. When do you have good behavior? Hopefully a child will feel good having good behavior and display this trait more often than not.
  6. Why do you need good behaviors? Again, when a child feel good about themselves, their behavior shines, too.

I’m a visual and hands on kind of gal, plus, I love to write, color and draw, so this has always worked for me, I think at least one iwill help you out, too.

  1. Discuss what it means to have good behavior, be it reading a book, “Let’s Behave” or just talking about it.
  2. Make a poster to display as a visual reminder in your home or classroom reminding others to behave.
  3. Using the Behavior Bear template, write the child’s name on the pencil, let them color it, display it and use as a sticker chart, or as a journal book cover.
  4. Writing to me always reinforces my thoughts, feelings and ideas. Let your children get their ideas down on paper, too. They can write about it, draw pictures about it or of course always talk about it, whatever it is that is on their mind, it’s a great coping mechanism, for me at least.
  5. Be a good listener. Be helpful. Be kind. Be aware of your surroundings. Be responsible. Using some of these on a poster or a chart as a visual helps remind others about what good behavior means.
  6. Make a poster, chart, book or something tangible to use at home. Remind your child that their are rules at home. What are they? Discuss these with them. Remind them that their are rules at school, and again discuss these with them.
  7. There is nothing better than complimenting your child for their good deeds, this builds confidence and pride.
  8. Always look for the good in what a child does, always.

So, remember the old cliche’  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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