The power of role modelling

Kids do the funniest things. Especially when they start to mimic those around them.

Whether it's their favourite character on television (my 2 and-a-bit year old thinks he is a Fireman), a friend or adult in their lives, children have an ability to copy those voices and actions that are part of their little world - have you ever been surprised by a little voice swearing from the back seat as another car cuts you up?!

My colleague Aileen got me thinking about this recently. She told me how her 2 1/2 year old daughter was copying how she put on her make up, including all the actions and phrases that went with along with that. All replayed to perfection in high definition.

That's when it hit me - the power of role modelling.

To be honest, it wasn't something I was familiar with before I started work here. And becoming a Dad has had a major bearing too I'm guessing. But it's the way to go for sure. And it looks like more and more parents are recognising that too.

When we asked parents last year as part of our regular consumer research 'Do you think your own eating habits influence the eating habits of your child?', over half (53%) said "Yes - definitely", while a third said "Yes, probably". And what's also encouraging is those numbers are on the up from when we last asked that question.

I take encouragement from that because my own attempts at role modelling have been less than successful - my 2 boys are great at naming and proclaiming their love of vegetables and all things healthy (especially if a kindly relative is nearby with chocolate in their bag) but when it comes to habits, they've got some way to go yet....

And frustrating as that is, it's just something I've got to keep trying with them - apparently it can take up to 10 or 12 times offering before a child will try a new food. And it's probably also helped improve what I eat because, yep you guessed it, Daddy's eating it too.

To me, kids need role models for a whole variety of reasons; whether that's being more active, eating a bit healthier, supporting a favourite team or just knowing how to put on make up. So if you're a parent, don't lose hope and keep at it. And if you don't have kids, I envy your lie-ins at the weekend.

My colleague Aileen will be guest blogging here next week and am looking forward to that. Who knows, I might learn a thing or two - I need role models too you know!

All the best, 



Posted: 18/09/2011 10:53:47 by Colman Kelly
Filed under: Children, Family, Parents

About Me

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Colman Kelly
Hi, I’m Dermot Moriarty and I’m the communications manager for safefood. My background is in advertising & public relations and I work on our awareness campaigns, promotional activities and market research. I’m also an occasional blogger. In my spare time, I’m a fan of history books, sport and cooking (though not all at the same time) and am trying to get back into running. I live in Co. Dublin with my wife and two young boys who are growing up way too fast.