Many parents think that it is premature to teach values to a toddler or pre-schooler. But that is a misconception. The truth of the matter is, since the time a child is aware of the surroundings and responds to it, that is right from birth onwards, the child is ready to imbibe significant life lessons.
Why is it important to teach values to children?
Principles and ethics are essential elements that determine the personality of an individual. It is, therefore, necessary to instill essential values in children, to help them grow into better human beings and make this world a happier place to live in.
Nowadays, life has changed a lot where the world has become a global village with easy access to various lifestyles of people hailing from different parts of the world and varied cultural backgrounds, sometimes contradictory and controversial. Children tend to go astray. Earlier parents and the family used to give lot of time to children and children are always under the supervision of somebody or the other. Now both parents work and families have mostly become nuclear, children have more time for themselves. In these circumstances we need to make our children have strong personality traits and good character to face the world in confident and positive manner making them socially fit and to be good citizens. That is why it has become very important to teach values to children. Teaching values to children is not just the role of the family but also of friends, relatives and society as well.
What is the role of a family in teaching values to children?
Family is the foundation on which the values are built in a child. A child learns his behavior by imitating what he sees around him. Children identify themselves with their parents and other family elders and adopt them as their personal role models for emulation, it is very much important for the family to inculcate the values by showcasing the values in their behavior and manners in the day to day activities at home. Values taught by a family are the foundation for children to learn, grow and behave in the world.
If the value system is taught to children systematically then the behavioral problems of children can be avoided to a great extent. The values taught to the children empower them to protect themselves against the harmful effects of negative forces at play in society. Children who are influenced by strong values have a strong sense of right and wrong, and propel easily ahead, progressing in their lives.
What values do you teach a child?
Parenting is nothing short of a challenging experience. Expect a lot of bumps on the way. Keep calm and deal with your child in the right way. The mantra is “exercise self-discipline and being conscious of our behavior in front of children, as we are watched and imitated by them”. Set an example by in deeds than by mere words. Never should a child ever feel that practicing good behavior is difficult and hence elders only preach morality without practicing themselves. This dual behavior is strictly undesirable in front of children. As today’s children are smart and are fast in learning even complicated behavior of adults around them. As children grasp things very easily at a young age it is best to teach values by us being an example and role models for them, so that emulating good personalities becomes a part of their personality as they grow.
Let’s take a look at a few moral values which are essential for a child to learn at a very young age.
Survival instinct makes one to gain benefits by adopting dishonesty. It is completely normal for children to lie. And also they are still in a stage of development where reality is blurred with fantasy and that can have a big impact on the “stories” they tell. It is important to make a child understand the difference between truth and lie.
Aparent/teacher need to teach the values, first by example. A parent should understand why children lie and figure out, how to let children to be honest.Children need to be taught that It is alright to get deprived of fringe benefits temporarily by being honest than to sustain a dent in character permanently. Encourage your child to make such minor sacrifices in pursuit of good character traits. Make your child feel that they can trust you by divulging their mistakes, and you be understanding and respectful of their wishful thinking.
Many parents make the mistake of teaching their children only about respect for elders, but everyone, including flora and fauna, deserves respect, regardless of age or social standing. Respect is an essential value that your child must know at a young age, as it plays an important role in his/her behavior around strangers and elders. Toddlers learn respect from their peers and elders from a young age and good practices will benefit them in the future. Even when the times get tough in the future, your child will be more respectful towards others.
A child may not be able to respond to another child’s feelings if they don’t share the same feelings and perspective on a situation. A parent/teacher can instill empathy in children in many ways like “Describing how others feel, teaching them about feelings and emotions, using picture books, Validating their feelings, etc.” It is very important to be expressive with a child exposing him/her to various types of feelings and encouraging him/her to be communicative equally well in a similar fashion.
Life comes with disappointments and setbacks. It’s important for children to learn how to overcome these painful obstacles. Life doesn’t always go our way. Learning to see these times as opportunities for growth teaches them to become powerful instead of being a victim to circumstance. Resilience is something that children develop as they grow. All children encounter stress at a young age. These obstacles might seem small to an adult, but they seem huge to children. Parents can help children build resilience and confront uncertainty by teaching them “To solve problems independently, embrace mistakes, coping with things, adopting and transforming themselves to suit the changes dictated by life”. Instilling this value in children will help them bounce back on their own, and become strong and capable individuals.
How to inculcate the values of a child?
“Parents are a child’s first teachers and role models” They play a vital role in shaping up the child’s behavior and inculcating positive values in them. Children listen, observe and imitate their parents. So it is important that they should be good role models for the children. To raise well behaved and responsible children one should be willing to invest a considerable amount of time, patience energy and self-discipline. So, as a Mother or Father, a parent has to practice what she/he preaches to expect the child to follow it. For the child to inculcate values the parent should follow these steps every day.
- Tell a story: Storytelling helps your children understand great messages. Read a story to your child every day. Literary heroes are just another form of role model for the child to rely on. They act as a good moral compass for a child.
- Appreciate a Child: It is always a good idea to appreciate a child for his/her good behavior. This helps the child to be motivated and be at his/her best behavior. But rewarding the child with material things is not an appropriate thing for a parent to do. Because once the child starts getting materialistic and gets attached to it for more. Do not reward your children with materialistic things like chocolates, gadgets, etc. But reward the child with palpable things like a warm hug, a word of appreciation, etc. which are much better than worldly things.
- Saying YES/NO: Communication skills should be so well established between you and your child that the child should know that when you say “No” to something, he should understand and analyze the reason for that “no” and that it deserves a “no”, being an unreasonable demand. The last thing you need is, your child turning into an arrogant and unreasonable personality. Make him realize the fact that he can always get a chance to voice his opinion and explain his side. The final call is a result of prudent and wise decisions arrived at by both together. As much as saying “No” matters, you must know when to say “Yes” as well. If your child has to attend a birthday party, let him go ahead and actively participate, even if it means changes in the schedule. These little things will make your child happy.
- Make your child understand: Probably the most important aspect of growing up is to make a child eat healthy food. If a child insists on buying a biscuit packet from the supermarket, ask him to read out the ingredients on the label. Explain to him why he should not consume a few foods with harmful ingredients that can cause health complications in the long run. Let the child know about the importance of having a nutritious diet as compared to junk food.
- Set the rules: It is extremely important for parents to set the rules for a child as well as themselves too, and to adhere to them meticulously especially once your child starts going to school. Set the time table for a child by fixing hours for playtime, homework and screen time. Give him the time every day to do important things like making the bed, playing, etc. Try to make a flexible routine and don’t be too strict while allocating time for study and play. Keep adequate time for playing as sports help in both physical and mental development. Quality time between parents and children is a very important aspect in everyday routine giving ample opportunity to the child to share his day’s happenings.
“Good manners are not taught through formal teaching”. They are acquired more by observation. Parents should not give too many instructions to children. Allow the child to learn from your manners rather than lecture. Remember that your child’s good habits always begin at home.
Children are no more interested in bookish knowledge. They want to learn things that connect them to the real world. At Iris Florets, we clearly understand that inculcating values in a child at a very young age is vital. To do so, we reckon there has to be a meaningful “Parent-student-teacher relationship” as every child tries to imitate what a parent/teacher does. Besides academics, we also focus on creating awareness amongst the young lot by organizing PTM’s, Workshops, etc. We also have awareness weeks wherein we educate every child, to be honest, polite, friendly and empathetic to everybody.
We put in our efforts and continue to teach every child the values not just by integrating value education with our curriculum but also by implementing it practically. Because we believe in
“The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values”