2016 Apr 18
Parenting with Joanne
As adults, we have come to understand the importance of values in our own personal lives. They give us direction in the course of behavior and enrich our daily interactions. But, what does this mean to a young child of 2 or 5? Are values important at that age? If so, how do we teach them these values?
Is is important that we understand that the most powerful mode of learning for a child at any age is modeling. Having said that, i wish to emphasize that we cannot embark on a mission to teach our children any form of values, if we ourselves are not practicing them. Here are a few values that you can teach a young child between the ages of 2 and 5.
Speaking the truth or being truthful at all times is a difficult value to master even for us adults. Yet for a toddler, it comes easier than it does for us. Therefore embrace it and use the natural inclination to teach him the depth of this profound value. You can begin by encouraging your child to always be true to himself and what he is feeling. If your toddler is hurt and crying, do not dismiss the feeling by saying ‘you are okay’. Instead, acknowledge the feeling by saying ‘yes i know you are hurt, let’s find a way to ease that pain’.
A young child will not fathom the difference between white lies and actual lies. So, if you wish to help your toddler understand and grasp honesty, you need to start by being honest with him. Use every opportunity you get to speak honestly to your child, regardless of what the outcome is.
Expressing love is the only way a child will understand this great big language. Be generous with hugs and kisses. More importantly act in love towards other members in the family.
Understanding at an early age, that love has so much good attached to it, is crucial for a growing child. The home is the first place where the foundation for love can be profoundly laid. We as the parents can architect that foundation and help our children in forming a good frame of reference that they can use in all their future relationships.
Saying thank you and teaching your child to say thank you is extremely important. You may have to remind your child to use these words almost all the time, but don’t give up. When gratitude is an attitude within your home it wont be long before he learns to use those words with meaning and purpose.
At a time when your child is still mastering fine and gross motor skills, many of the daily activities can be quite a challenge for him. Nevertheless, always encourage your youngster to complete a task after having started it. It may be a game of building blocks or snakes and ladders but if you find your toddler trying and failing and attempting to move toward other activities, gently coax him to complete what he started. If he refuses, try helping him complete. If this becomes a regular manner in which you respond, your young child will learn to stay on the task longer than when he first started. The idea is to help create the desire to see the end result of his work.
Psychologists believe that children from a very early age are able to recognize and value the feelings of others (theory of mind). While this foundation already exists in a young child, we as parents can teach our children to empathize with others. Empathy for a young child can begin from allowing a sibling or a friend to take a turn at a game and then grow into extending a hug toward someone in tears. Use daily opportunities to help your child see from another person’s point of view.
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org