Kids watch. Kids learn.

Recently I was invited to bring along my family to Go Go Bambini to take part in a mini gathering of parents who blog, organized by Health Promotion Board.

It was a very interesting exercise that showed that kids watch and learn what is acceptable.  And that parents were a strong influence on kids’ smoking behaviours.

“A study by researchers at Dartmouth College revealed that children with parents who smoked were 4 times more likely to purchase cigarettes, as compared to children with non-smoker parents.

The findings, acquired through a role play scenario involving a miniature
grocery store, suggest that children are highly attentive to their parents’ smoking habits, and are more likely to regard smoking as appropriate and normal behaviour in social settings, thus resulting in a higher likelihood of them picking up the habit later on in life.”

We had our own mini “supermarket” and the kids were invited to pretend to be us, shopping for the family and for themselves. Most food groups were represented like veggies and fruit, milk and bread, sweeties and snacks and cigarettes and alcohol. The idea behind it was that kids do what we do and not what we say, so they wanted to see which kid would pick up the cigarettes.

Here’s what each of my children “bought”.

Jordan shopped like daddy. He got coffee, coke and chocolates.  Those cans aren’t the only coffee he got. Got plenty of 3-in-1 as well. And apples.  And I suspect the vegs cos we’re quite insistent we all eat our greens at every meal.  He giggled when I balked at the amount of coffee & coke he got.

Tasmin shopped most like someone buying for the house.  Bread, maggie mee, juice.  She bought things that would make us proud of her. She was showing off how she had so much veggies that Lauren felt a bit left out and wanted to go buy more even after it was over. And Tas exclaimed that she bought “all the healthy stuff” and only a few snacks and sweets.

Lauren bought the least.  She hung back and watched a lot.  She was the one I thought might pick up the cigarettes. Not because we smoked but because they were a curiousity. I watched as she stopped in front of them and spent a little time just staring at the neatly lined boxes. Then she proceeded to buy snacks, sweets, coke and nuts.

I held up the coke and asked her, “Coke for you?” She looked at me with those brown eyes and said,”You.  You drink that right?” “Yes I do.” “And these nuts?  Are they for me or you?” “Sometimes you eat that right?” “Haha yes I do, thank you.”

For me, it was fun to remember that our kids are watching what we do and say.  They picked up that we drink too much coke and snacked on too much junk.  Anti-coke campaign anyone? Pun funny, but not intended.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Oharlie

    This sure is interesting! And I love Go Go Bambini! 😀

    September 24th, 2009

  2. This is a very interesting “exercise”. I guess we parents must always be vigilant on our actions as our children are always watching (and learning) from us.

    October 3rd, 2009

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