As adults, when we think about our values, we tend to think about how our parents contributed to shaping who we are. We often reflect on the things that they said to us growing up that have stuck with us.
When we have our own children, we wonder whether they’ll be like us and what kind of values they’ll have. But what are the important values to teach your child and how do you instil these?
In early childhood, children learn values through interacting with their parents, so it’s important to focus on encouraging your child to live by the right values and guiding their moral development.
How to inculcate moral values in your child
Nurturing your child’s core values is the foundation for building their character. By allowing them to learn from you through your actions, using positive reinforcement by rewarding good behaviour where appropriate and creating situations for them to practise their learned values, these will become instilled in them.
Try to be patient with your child, take the time to explain things clearly and effectively to help them to understand; using examples can be extremely effective.
Be a good role model for your child
A key part of a child’s moral development is having good role models. Children are like sponges, absorbing a lot of what is happening around them; as a parent you are your child’s hero and their first role model so it is important to:
Lead by example
Children often copy the actions and behaviours of the people around them so it’s good to show them through your own actions how they should behave.
Practice what you preach and avoid having double standards
If you tell your child that they are not allowed to eat sweet treats before their dinner be sure to follow these rules yourself.
Show your child the importance of being honest by owning up to mistakes instead of trying to cover them up or lying about them.
Listen to your child and to others around you
Hold space for your child and others in your company by being present and giving them your full attention when they are speaking. Really listen to what they are saying without interrupting them.
Try not to rush your child or get frustrated with them when they are learning something or carrying out tasks, if something is time sensitive offer gentle guidance to help them through the process.
To be a confident problem-solver
Encourage your child to find solutions to manageable problems, rather than telling them exactly what to do in challenging situations, offer guidance to build their critical thinking skills.
Through this process your child will also gain other important skills such as perseverance, courage and determination.
Being supportive and teaching them that it’s okay to fail, will aid their confidence in decision making and their ability to problem solve on their own.
To always take responsibility
Teaching your child to take care of their belongings is a good way to introduce them to responsibility. You can do this very subtly to begin with and build the level of responsibility up over time, for example, make it their responsibility to look after their own bag or give them some basic chores.
Make your child aware of the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and the consequences.
If they upset someone, be mindful of not limiting their understanding of the situation by just telling them to simply say sorry, instead, also talk through the scenario so that they understand the implications of their actions.
To understand the importance of community
You can foster a community spirit within your child by teaching them essential values such as respect, manners, sharing and taking turns, this will help them to thrive in social situations.
Teaching your child respect will help them to be kind and considerate towards others, it will also teach them to be respectful of people from different backgrounds. Having good manners will help them to be polite in their day-to-day interactions and can start with things as simple as saying please and thank you.
It’s natural for young children to become possessive over their belongings, help with this by introducing them to games that require them to share. You could also encourage them to donate books or clothes to those in need.
To cultivate meaningful relationships
Establishing strong healthy relationships is a key element of your child’s development; go above and beyond to not only tell, but also show your child that you love them, every day.
Get creative with how you show your child love and affection; do little things like making their toast into a heart shape for example.
Forgiveness is an essential pillar in maintaining relationships; when your child experiences a grievance, support them through the acceptance process. You should let them know that their feelings are valid, but that they can still forgive others and not hold grudges.
To have an attitude of gratitude
Try to teach your child the value of gratitude from a young age, this is a valuable attribute to have in life and can help with optimism and being positive. Speak to your child about being grateful for what and who they have in their lives on a regular basis.
Cultivate appreciation by getting your child to name 1 thing that they are grateful for each day.
Summary: Important values to teach your child
Learning about Values at Little Angels 24/7 Nursery
We know the importance of helping your child learn more about the world around them, socialising with other children will help to live great values from an early age
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