5 values to teach your tot before they turn 5
Read this for parenting tips for toddlers regarding 5 values that your tot should know by age 5. Along with the values, there are tips to get you started.
As a parent, it’s important to keep in mind that a child is like a sponge during their formative years (0 to 5 years old). According to aboutourkids.org, “it is during these years that the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth."
"Language blossoms, basic motor abilities advance, thinking starts to become more complex, and social/emotional development enables the child to begin to understand his own feelings and those of others.”
Therefore it’s imperative that parents be careful with that they impart to their children. So much so that this may, or actually is, the best time to instill the following values:
Value 1: Honesty
In order to raise a child to be honest, parents have to stop setting them up to lie. They have to either stop overreacting and immediately punishing their child for doing something wrong after the child's admitted their mistakes.
Or, parents have to stop asking questions that they already know the answer to.
When a child admits to his wrongdoing, keep calm and react appropriately. If the situation calls for him not watching television for the rest of the day, then go ahead and dole it out.
But not without talking to your child about his misdeed and more importantly, not without thanking him for his honesty.
On the other hand, if you've asked your child to clean his room and know he didn't, don't ask, "Did you clean your room yet?" In an effort to avoid getting into trouble for not doing so, your child may resort to lying that he did.
Instead, go straight to the point and say that you know that he hasn't cleaned his room and repeat your instructions.
Last but not the least, be a model of truth. Children mimic the behavior and words of mom and dad. So if they see their parents dropping white lies here and there, they may come to deem it as appropriate behavior.
It is easy to tell children what to do, but the most effective way to teach them something is to show them how to do it. So as much as possible, be honest in everything you say and do.
Value 2: Responsibility
From a young age, children are taught to apologize when they do something wrong or when they hurt somebody. This teaches them to take responsibility for their actions towards others. You can take this a notch higher by teaching them how to make amends.
By doing so, not only are you teaching your child to be responsible for his actions, but you encourage him to be responsible enough to rectify the situation.
Imagine this, your child is at the playground and wants his turn on the swing. You see him shove a child off the swing and quickly take a seat. You walk over, help the child who was wronged and pull your own aside.
When you do this, be sure to keep calm, talk to him about his behavior, have him explain to you why he needs to apologize and help him come up with suggestions as to how he can compensate for his bad behavior.
Children aged 5 and below are still in the "Me! Me! Me!" stage, so teaching them to apologize when they hurt others and how to make amends may prove to be a tedious task at first, but in the long run, may be worth the effort.
Value 3: Courtesy and Respect
Comparable to teaching honesty, the best way to teach your child courtesy is by demonstrating it. If your child sees and hears you using phrases such as, "excuse me", "please" and "thank you", they will most likely follow suit. Though for toddlers, giving them gentle reminders for them to do so should be expected.
With regards to respect, it is imperative to teach them how to display respect to others for the sake of healthy relationships.
For example, when your toddler gets into a tiff with another child over a toy, a knee-jerk reaction would most likely be their calling the other child something mean versus their calmly expressing their being upset.
When this happens, pull your child aside and calmly tell them that they are not to make use of inappropriate language towards others, ever. Then tell him how he could possibly get what he wants in a respectful manner.
With regards to the toy scenario, you could suggest that he apologize to the child for his behavior and wait for his turn to play. This teaches him to respect others by understanding that people should not be spoken to in a harsh manner.
It also teaches him to respect the other's child time with the toy and to patiently wait for his turn.
Value 4: Gratitude
According to parent.com, "By age 4, children can understand being thankful not only for material things like toys but for acts of kindness, love, and caring."
Foster this sense of gratitude by allowing them to express their gratitude, even over the smallest things, on a daily basis. This can be done verbally during a conversation before bed. Or even by her drawing what she's thankful for.
If someone gave a gift or recently performed an act of kindness towards your child, encourage them to return the gesture and to show their gratitude by creating a thank you card.
Let them decorate the card as they please, and if needed, write down what they would like to say the recipient for them.
Another simple way to teach them about gratitude is by allowing them to help with household chores.
They may make more of a mess than actually help, but after seeing how much effort goes into cooking dinner and more, they'll become more appreciative of your efforts along with those who help with the household chores.
Value 5: Love
Taken from newkidscenter.com, "parents believe that children are naturally loving and affectionate, but in order for this to last you will need to reciprocate the emotion."
In order to do this, it is important to "demonstrate love and affection for others in front of your child and be generous with showing love and affection toward your child as well. Surprise your child with loving gestures like slipping a note into their book bag or performing thoughtful gestures at unexpected moments."
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