Academics are an important part in a child’s early education, but even more important is instilling good values. Your child can learn good values simply by watching you in your day to day actions. Children are known for being copycats, so as long as you are giving them good values to copy, then you are your child’s best teacher.
Children learn how to show affection every time you hug them or say “I love you.” The most important thing you can do to encourage your child to show affection is to be open to any affection they try to give, but never push when they aren’t feeling up for a hug.
Allowing your child to set some boundaries with their affection is important in teaching them that they are in control of their own bodies.
Teaching your child empathy is all about walking the walk. Your child is going to learn empathy by watching you be kind and caring to others. Some ways you can encourage empathy in your child are:
- Show empathy towards others
- Teach your child about their feelings
- Encourage them to discuss their feelings
- Point out examples of empathy/kindness in public
- Talk about your feelings
- Apologize when you’re wrong
When you’re stuck in traffic, waiting on an important phone call, or just about at the end of your straw with your child’s attitude, remember…they’re watching how you handle each of these situations, and they’re learning to handle similar situations in the same way.
Teaching your child healthy habits early on is important in ensuring they live a healthy life. You can teach your child healthy habits simply by making healthy food choices, and getting exercise. You don’t have to have a full workout routine every day to teach your child that exercise is important, just getting outside for some fresh air and a walk is enough.
You show your child every day how important responsibility is by doing everything you do for them. Going to work, making meals, doing the shopping, making sure there’s clean clothes to wear and the monsters are out of the closet before bed. Everything you do teaches your child the importance of taking care of family.
Although your child may not realize they are learning responsibility right now, one day when they are scaring the monsters out of their child’s closet, they will remember everything you did for them.
Every time your child sees you go for something that scares you, they learn courage. If that doesn’t motivate you to dress up for that big job interview and knock it out of the park, we don’t know what will.
One of the most important things you can do for your child’s self esteem, is love yourself. If your child hears you saying things like “I’m so fat” or “I’m so stupid” they will learn that it’s okay to think about themselves that way.
Talk to yourself how you would want someone to talk to your child, because ultimately, it will be how your child talks to themselves.
Sharing is an important skill for a child to learn. Being able to share is a social skill that children need in order to form lasting friendships. You can help your child with sharing skills by:
- Playing cooperative games
- Practicing taking turns with a toy
- Sharing with your child (Ask them if they would like some of your snack)
- Sharing with your friends and family (Let your cousin borrow that book they’ve been begging to borrow)
- Encouraging them to share when around others
Teach your child to be thankful for what they have, by being thankful for what you have. A roof over your head, and a meal on the table are things to celebrate. If your child sees you appreciating things in life, then they will learn what is important, and what they are lucky to have.
If your child can appreciate the necessities then they are much more likely to appreciate that new toy you get them for their birthday.
This one is easy. Every time you take a break from doing the dishes to have a tickle fight, go outside to play in the sprinklers, or play hide n seek, you’re teaching your child that it’s okay to take a break from schedules, and learning, and rules…and just have fun.