The Power of Peer Role Modelling for Children

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All children come full of dreams and hopes. Ambitions and wishes. As adults we are reminded of it when we ask that classic question ; “What do you want to be when you grow up ?” ……….

One will say “ballerina”, another “ astronaut” and another “footballer!

Historically and culturally the idea of positive role models in the development of children has been long established. Educational psychologists, cognitive behaviour theorists and social learning theorists all believe that actionable learning and development is acquired through imitation.

As parents and educators we all want to impact our children in a positive way for the future, therefore positive role models are key.

Experts like Bandura (Professor of social science in psychology at Stanford University) and others within this field believe that role models act as positive motivators for children.

Bandura believes in the power of Self-Efficacy. This is what underpins this entire theory of role models. Self-Efficacy, simply puts means believing in yourself to take action and succeed.

Peer Role Modelling takes this a little further. When someone else under takes an action and succeeds and a child can then relate to that person all the while believing they are similar, then they too believe they can do it.

It is not just the learner comparing themselves to their peer that matters but rather the learner observing their peers succeeding in the task which carries the psychological message they they themselves also have the potential capabilities to do the same thing.

It is about inspiring a growth mindset. With a growth mindset children will look towards their role model to show them the way to achieve. They accept and value that hard work, effort and perseverance are key to achieving their goals. They can see and compare themselves with their future selves and become excited and motivated about that potential.


To take it a step further when the child receives encouragement and positive reinforcement from their role model or grown-up this allows them to receive information about their own potential capabilities, the learner then learns that effort and success go together.

In modern society there are many superficial role models in our day to day world. However, the reality really should be that parents are the primary care-givers and should be the number one role model for their children. After this, teachers and grandparents feature hugely along with peers. Learning occurs in the most natural way from these groups as children are guided by, interacted with, taught by, facilitated, encouraged and helped by these people each and every day.

Parents and teachers are the primary people to instil values, goals and characteristics in children, motivate and encourage them as they shape and guide them into adulthood.

The most simple and important idea here is what we set a good example to our children or our future generations.

Social Learning Theory teaches us that people learn by observing others. From over a decade of spending each and every day with children I have observed and learned a great deal. Most simply that children imitate each other; they watch, they observe and they imitate each others’ behaviours. They have the ability to learn and replicate entire sequences of actions all at once. I have experienced the power of positive peer role models; it creates an environment where others are enthused and even inspired, creates a commitment and acceptance of community, sets out clear values, instils respect and provides an ability to accept and overcome obstacles.

Therefore, I believe and propose that children can actually make the most amazing role models for each other and peer modelling can be a very powerful tool for both parents and teachers to encourage and use..

Here at Foodoppi, deep within our core beliefs there are key principles of educational psychology underpinning all of what we do. We believe in the power of creativity. We believe in power of self-belief and confidence. We believe in the potential of children.

To the fore, for our audience of engaged and excited children our content is fun and entertaining however behind the scenes things go deeper.

We believe children are powerful role models to each other. Peer-learning and collaborative learning are going to become huge for the future. As part of our content on the Foodoppi digital platform there are two features; Dare to Dine and Kids Taste, which encourage children to try and taste new foods. This is based on the proven theories of positive peer role-modelling and is one of the key triggers to overcoming those fussy eating moments.

Foodoppi also has a feature section called FoodStar of the Week. Here we feature a child who has achieved something cool and interesting, or who has great aspirations or is genuinely inspiring. We interview them, show off their personality and create a vibrant visual collage of their interests and achievements. This all serves as attainable, achievable actions which are relevant to the child’s life. It serves to motivate others to believe they can too. It inspires that growth mindset. They can now see and compare their future selves with a relatable success story and become excited and motivated about their own potential.

All this ultimately leads to the power of self-efficacy – believing in yourself to take action and succeed.

Today’s feature on Foodoppi is our Foodstar Sports Superstar. It is about a young ambitious, determined guy from inner-city Dublin who started his football career at the age of 4 at Belvedere F.C and has since moved to the UK, signed a contract with Wolverhampton Wanderers and is training to become a top professional and international football player. When Daniel McKenna was asked at 4 years old what he wanted to be, he said “footballer”, and you know what, he was right!!

foodoppi foodstar of the week

Believe in the power of our children! They are truly wonderful.

Read the article here & inspire your child: