The Child’s Job is to Role Play What They See Us Do -Uh OH!

Child’s play is the child’s job. Role playing with a few props or dress up clothes is a necessary tool to growing up in good time. The Child will act out ole what they wee us do -Uh OH! Are we demonstrating out best behavior?

Kids watch us parents, grand parents, teachers, doctors, community helpers- then the imitate us…uh oh! I hope we grown ups are setting a good example. Watch your kids and find out….

Do you think your child’s manner in public area reflection of your parenting? Uh- Oh!


I identified 6 basic habits our kids role play reveals about us parents. I will give a few personal examples to get you started thinking about what habits your kids will be imitating.

What your child says and does is very revealing about what they see you do.

  1. Language
  2. Manners
  3. Hygiene and House Keeping
  4. Social Skills
  5. Empathy
  6. Problem Solving Skills

Kids Will Role Play What They Us Do….Uh OH!

How children act in public is a litmus paper for our grow up manners and habits.

In may image above, 2 of my grand daughters are politely looking at library books. The older girl is trying to help the younger one pick out a book. ( I’m very proud- or do you think I would be sharing this old picture?)

I was a student librarian for about 6 years. I learned a lot about how to help kids learn to treat books from the librarian.

At age 14 I wanted to ban all naughty kids from the library. But the head librarian, a wise woman, taught me, to show the little ones how to treat the books.

Should kids be banned from shopping?
( My grand kids at Toon-town having fun.)


She taught me, that the library was for everyone to enjoy learning. … even if unruly kids disturbed people reading. We as librarians, even a student librarian who got paid 25 cents and hour, could teach the children skills they did not have the opportunity to learn at home from their parents. ( How to do that is another post.)

  • Have you ever been shopping or at the library? Of course you have.
  • Have you seen kids destroy a store… and the parents did not seem to notice? *

WARNING! Sometimes kids who run a muck in a store have been taught to do so. WHAT?

Don’t some kids have melt-downs because they are tired or hungry? Yes, kids get tired and cranky… but I’m not writing about how parents can help their kids with that… I’m talking about…

“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves!”

That is the tile of an old Cher song. I thought it would make a good sub-title.

Pick pockets with use disruptions like misbehaving kids to hide merchandise they have no intention of paying for. They get everyone to LOOK at the kids throwing grapes on the floor …OVER…THERE!

Store SECURITY knows that old trick. But if you have a small store and can’t afford security or a secret shopper thieves love to shop with you. Keep that in mind next time you see naughty kids with adults some place other than teaching manners.

Do you rally want SECURITY at Wal Mart watch you just because your kids can’t behave in the toy aisle? I don’t think so. .. ( Stop bad behavior in it’s track. Immediately leave the store- the cart- EVERYTHING! State calmly and firmly,

I see you are not ready to shop for groceries with me today. It is time to leave. You may try again later.

Then escort your child out… if they pull away state calmly and firmly..

You are not ready to help me shop. If you pull away from me you may hurt your hand. It is time to go quietly.

At home- when all is calm- Role Play Grocery Shopping.

Role play is the time to practice doing tasks of daily living.

Sure kids make mistakes.

It is the time of life to make boo-boos and learn by acting out what they see us grown pup persons do to maturely handle life situations. That is why role play- dressing up with a few props or costumes is very important to children in their fundamental years.

What IF the parents were applying for a job and the prospective employer saw how their kids showed disrespect to the stores property?

How do you think the prospective employer would respond?

  1. Kids will be kids….
  2. You do not meet the qualifications for the job….

Why do you think a boss would or would not want to hire a person who had children who torn open packages and ran around the store?

Something to think about.

Want the kids to learn to care for your home?

Encourage your kids to role play tasks around the home.

Do you think a four year old can rake the leaves in the yard as well as the lawn care company?

No! Doing a great job is not the point.

The point of role playing tasks around the house if to build their confidence; develop muscles; build problem solving and more healthy brain building stuff.

Would you expect a 4 year old to rake leave as good as you can do? Role play to to practice doing the skills they see doing.

Do you wash your hands before you eat? Do you wipe you hands on your pants?

Well if I see a kids wiping their hands on their pants after going to the bathroom- I know who taught them about hygiene.

Children imitate what they see in real life . A child may try to fly like a bird- what does your kids imitate YOU doing mom and dad?

No Non-cents Nanna potty-mouth repeated.

True story-oops!

I wish I had the time to digitize our old family videos. My older children had blast filming VHS movies they scripted them selves.

One short video was of my then 3 year old wearing a super- hero bath towel cape. ( That is her look alike child above trying to fly like a bird- you get the picture…)

My son had her “flying” in some scenes- it was quite creative how the cape was blowing and her air were out stretched like Super Man.

In another scene my sweet little girl was holding a hammer. I have no idea WHY she had to hold a hammer in the scene… it was in the script…my son the screen writer was 13…yep…

No one remembers what the big kids had scripted her to say….but, we do remember what came out of her mouth when she dropped the hammer on the floor…. Uh Oh!

OH CRAP! I dropped it!

When I saw the Greatest Movie EVER, I realized that Momma-Goodie-Two-Shoes had a Potty Mouth and her sweet little baby TOLD ALL!

It could have been worse….YEP!

Well, it had been worse when my son was 7. I mean the mother-load of all potty mouth…False back about 6 years.


Children learn empathy from having pets- They will demonstrate the empathy we parents have show to them.


In 1982 my oldest 2 children started a new school year.

Immediately, the first day, my son came home from school with… shall I say, A New Attitude?

Being a nurse with good bases for Child-Growth- and-Development and Pysch Growth and development of Children I was trained to notice “forensics of child behavior”. At that time I still was not THAT good at it. But I knew the “religious” school we had sent him to seemed to have something different than my expectations.

My 7 year old was stand-off-ish. When I went to hug him he pulled away.

A few days later he walks in the door..SLAMS it shut!

That type of mistreatment of the door was not acceptable. I called him on it.

“David, show me how you can close the door more gently.” I said in a kind voice.

*!#%! #$*&%~

Kids learn language skills by listening to our words. Are you role modeling socially acceptable words mom and dad?


Excuse me? Did I hear you right? I don’t know those words and I feel uncomfortable with how angry you sound.

Swear word combinations I never knew were flowing trippingly off of my son’s tongue every day after school for weeks…..

…Cutting to chase… with an edited version of the story…my son had learned to swear at an alleged “Christian” School. He had learned to light cigarettes and he couldn’t sit on his behind.

Something was very wrong going on in that school, I am grieved to say, and his behavior told the truth.

  • Children repeat language they hear adults using with emphasis
  • Children mimic habits they see.

Usually the situation is reversed. A child goes to school where teachers are Mandatory Reporters. They are trained to notice behavior irregularities. By law if they see bruises or see that it is painful for a child to sit or they hear inappropriate language- something has happened at home and they by law must report to Social Service to investigate- not judge – but ask for help for the child’s sake.


…and now your thoughts on children and role play are….?


I am Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna saying, “Make good choices.”


Don’t Take My Word Alone….


Benefits on Role Play in the Early Years

Role Play in the Early Childhood Setting

Why Pretend Play is Important to Child Development 

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