Values strengthen the character of your child. Here are seven important values you can teach your child through fun and interesting activities.
By Leena Ghosh
Children are like clay. How you mould them in the beginning is how they'll turn out to be later. The lessons you teach them, the values you imbibe in them and the experiences they have in their early years, play a significant role in shaping their character. In this digital age, we, as parents, have to be even more careful as children are now more exposed to external influences, and hence more vulnerable.
So, it’s important we ingrain in them important values from an early age, to help them differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad. And even though, they might still face hurdles at a later stage, they’ll be more capable of making good decisions. Following are some important values you can teach your child in a fun and interactive manner.
1. Be respectful
A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone - Billy Graham
Being respectful not only teaches your child an important value, but also teaches him to listen and appreciate different points of views even if they don’t match his own. To teach this important lesson, encourage your child to offer help to a senior citizen in the neighbourhood or volunteer at a senior citizen centre. Being in the company of the elderly will show him that even though they are generations apart from him, they have infinite wisdom to share based on their life experiences.
2. Be responsible
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today - Abraham Lincoln
The best way to teach your child to be responsible is to put her in charge of a life. While taking care of pets on their own might be a difficult task to do for younger children, you can always teach them how to nurture a plant and watch it grow. Show her what goes into taking care of a sapling and what she needs to do to make sure it thrives. Nurturing and caring for a plant or corner plot of the garden will make her feel responsible and happy about her accomplishments.
3. Be grateful
I am happy because I'm grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy - Will Arnett
Kids often learn to take things for granted. This happens mostly when all their demands are met and wishes fulfilled as soon as they make them. To teach your child how to be grateful, teach him how to make ‘thank you’ notes. Every time someone does something nice for him, ask him to give that person a personalised ‘thank you’ note. You can also give him a ‘thank you’ note if he does all his tasks properly. This activity, while teaching him to be creative, will also help him appreciate others’ efforts.
4. Be charitable
Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door - Charles Dickens
Have you been wondering what to do with all those toys your child never plays with anymore? Enlist her help in collecting all the extra toys and donate it to those who need them more. Whether you give it to some underprivileged children in your locality or drop it off at a charitable institute, explain to her why you are doing it and how she can help to make another child happy. Now, she might hesitate to give away some toys even though she doesn’t play with them. In that case, you can set an example by donating an old shawl or a book and tell her that even though you like those items, you will give them to people who need them more than you, as you already have more than one of such items. And that making others happy, makes you feel happy too.
5. Be caring
Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community - Anthony J. D'Angelo
One wonderful way of teaching your child empathy and how to care for others is by playing the ‘buddy game’. In this game, you prepare chits with the names of all your family members and put them in a bowl. Ask each member to pick a chit. Whoever’s name appears on the chit is going to be their ‘buddy’ for the day and the task is to do something nice for your ‘buddy’ without telling them. While playing this fun game, he will learn how to do random acts of kindness without wanting something in return.
6. Be honest
Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don't have brains enough to be honest - Benjamin Franklin
This is a tricky one as, sooner or later, all children learn to lie. Whether it’s a white lie or lying by omission, it’s a habit most children pick up at a young age. So, as a parent, it’s your duty to teach them the importance of being honest and show them why it’s a good thing. You can teach them this important value by telling two versions of the same story. In one, the child tells the truth and in the other, he lies. Show how the parents in the story are saddened by the child’s lies in the first instance and how, in the second instance, even though the parents feel sad, they come out in support of the child and help him fix his mistake. Make sure your child can relate to the story and tell her why, though difficult at times, it’s always important to tell the truth.
7. Be brave
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear - Nelson Mandela
The lesson of courage is an important one to teach your child as it will help him overcome obstacles later in life. You can teach him to be brave by encouraging him to push his limits and praising his efforts. Whether he suffers from stage fright or is afraid of getting hurt, encourage him to participate in activities that help him overcome his fears. Provide constant support and do not push him too hard, or he may retreat into a shell. Give him the space to pacify his nerves and strengthen his will. Also, always let him know that, whether he succeeds or fails, you would be proud that he made the effort to overcome his fears.
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