If anyone ever has a question on whether people learn by example more than what they are told, they should just have a child.
My children crack me up when it comes to this. Some examples in our house...
1. Every morning after the kids get up I go into their playroom and put up Jacque's (our dog) water and food bowls so they don't splash it all over the place or put his food into his water.
...Gabriel and Asher (whoever gets in there first) has now taken this job over. Not b/c I asked them too, 'cus I never have. BUT because they have watched me do it for so long now. The first time I actually got onto them b/c I heard them messing with it and thought they were playing in it, only to see the bowls stacked, Gabriel opening the closet door and Asher putting the bowls up.
2. Every night at bedtime I make my rounds around the house looking for "frog" (Gabriel's lovey) and also Trinity and Asher's lovies and blankets if not in their beds.
...Trinity now does this a lot of the time. She grabs all the blankets, and lovies and throws them in the correct crib. The first time she did it I figured she just threw them all in one crib only to see each blanket and lovey in the correct child's crib.
3. I do dishes a lot of the time while the kiddos are awake. I empty the dishwasher, then reload it.
...Gabriel, and sometimes Asher and Trinity now empty the dishwasher most of the time...if I do this when they are awake. They do a great job! And since they are constantly grabbing a dish and handing to me it gets done ASAP....like record time! And no dishes have yet to be broken.
4. Putting toys away.
...Usually when I start doing this, they follow along. I show them where things go and they go to it. Now, it doesn't all always get put in the correct place when all is said and done, but for the most part...and seriously just the fact that they pick up with me is cool...at least I think so!
5. When we are getting ready to leave to go somewhere or outside I usually end up yelling "hey guys, come on let's go!" or "let's go boys" (Trinity is usually already there.)
...The first time I heard Trinity yell "Heeeeeeeeey booooooys!" I started laughing.
6. SSSSSHHHHHHH (with finger up to mouth) If Asher is the 1st up from naptime or in the morning and the other two are still sleeping I usually end up doing this. He can talk loud.
...Now when I come get him, whether in the morning or after nap he puts his finger up to his mouth and goes "SSSSSSSHHHHHH" :p
And those are just a few examples.
I think one of the main things we have to remember about our children is that they learn more from example than just the old saying "do as I say, not as I do". Chris and I vowed to never say this. It pretty much says "don't look to me as the example". We want our children to look at us as the example of what to do, not what not to do. And if we have picked up a bad habit (never,right?! baahaa), and our children pick it up, then we just work on stopping that habit...us as parents and our children together.
Another thing to remember is that our children can't learn if we don't let them do.
I could have got onto them and spanked them for touching the dishes. I chose to let them help and give them major props instead, and this seriously became one of their fave things to do...help mama with dishes. They even clap for themselves when they give me a dish.
Kids are the coolest!