More is Caught Than Taught with Pre-Toddlers

When teaching your pre-toddler the difference between right and wrong, your kiddo will learn more from what you do that what you say.

Mom teaching toddler

By the time your child is a pre-toddler (ages 12-18 months), you have no doubt noticed that your child is a little mimic.

Your child will start to do some strange action over and over only for you to realize you do that same thing.

Children do what the adults in their lives do.

Often times this is magnified–something small you do or say will be exaggerated by your child, making it more noticeable.

I remember when Kaitlyn was a pre-toddler. She started to have an obsession with pushing her long sleeves up.

I thought it was quite odd for a child of her age. She did it so intentionally that I knew she had picked it up from someone.

As I observed people around her, I quickly saw it was from my mom. My mom always pushed her sleeves up if she had long sleeves. 

So what’s the point of this other than that it can be incredibly cute (or incredibly embarrassing at times)?

“Beware now and in the future, when it comes to training, more is caught than taught, which means your example forms lasting impressions” .

(On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise page 117)

I love that–it is catchy. More is Caught Than Taught

Your example is paramount.

You can sit and have lessons on appropriate behavior, but your example will teach more than your words ever can.

If you find your child’s behavior unacceptable, the first place to look is at yourself. Are you doing that behavior in some way?

The next place to look is at siblings. Younger siblings look to the older siblings and “catch” all of their behavior.

Then look to other caretakers, family members, and friends.

If your child is picking up bad habits from friends, you can minimize it by shortening exposure to the friends.

Your child needs to learn to be able to be around friends without problems, but we all pick up on things from the people we are around. 

Minding your example is the first step in correcting children.

This is the preventative side of correction. The prevention side of correction is so much more powerful than the corrective side of prevention. Preventing problems takes a lot of work initially, but it makes life much easier in the long run. 

I have written many times on example. Here are the posts:

And here are posts on prevention:

More is caught than taught parenting tip pinnable image

1 thought on “More is Caught Than Taught with Pre-Toddlers”

  1. Hi Val – I sent you an email with this question, but i realized you probably get a 100 emails a day! I need some help with my schedule and dropping a nap. My son is 8 months old and has been on a four hour schedule since birth (bottle fed). His schedule is as follows:Wakes at 5am and sometimes goes back to sleep or entertains himself Eats at 6am (7-8oz and 5T of solids)First nap is at 7:30 or 8am depending on if he went back to sleep after waking at 5amFirst nap is only 1.25 hours long –no matter what time I put him downThis puts him awake around 9:00 or 9:15Eats at 10am (a very small bottle and 3T of solids)Second nap is at 11:30 or Noon depending on if he went back to sleep after waking early around 9.Second nap is only 1.25 to 1.5 hours long – no matter what time I put him downThis puts him awake around 1 – 1:15pmEats at 2pm (4-6 oz bottle and no solids)Third nap at 3:30-4pm and he’s pretty fussy by thenSleeps only 30 minutes to 1 hour. I don’t let him sleep past 5pm.Eats at 5:45ish 6oz and 5T foodBedtime at 7pm – usually goes right downAs you can see – he seems to have a sleep wake eat wake sleep cycle going. I feel like he might be ready to drop the 3rd nap so that the other two can be longer. But doesn’t that change the four hour schedule? And aren’t we near the time where a bottle may be dropped? It seems like his 10am is only 2-3oz so he may be ready to drop that too. I just feel like I’m missing something. By dropping the third nap – shouldn’t his wake times be longer? Otherwise, when he eats at 2 (but usually waking around 1) and then doesn’t go to bed until 7 because the third nap was dropped, he’ll be us for 5 or 6 hours!! That seems waaay too long.Please help!!


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