5 Practical Ways to Teach Your Kids the Right Values

Teaching your children the right values sets them up for success as adults. It is perhaps one of the most important lessons parents can instil in their children, and contributes to creating compassionate, well-rounded members of society.

However, the task of teaching values is sometimes viewed as subjective or abstract. Here are five practical ways you can teach your child the right values.

Enroll them in Extracurricular Activities

Whether you opt to put your children in team sports or an arts program, extracurricular activities are an effective way to start instilling values at a young age. Doing so helps your children learn to work with others, take direction, strive to put their best foot forward, and persevere in the face of adversity.

Each sport or extracurricular program will have its own set of lessons. Football can teach your child how to work with others and the value of team spirit, while dancing can be a great way to develop empathy and the ability to identify and convey emotions in a healthy way.

Model the Behavior

Children learn by mimicking what they see and hear. Their first words are often learned by hearing their family members talk, and their values and belief system often emulate what their parents value or believe. Thus, practicing what you preach is essential when trying to instill values in children rather than defaulting to “do as I say, not as I do.”

Don’t just model the behavior yourself, but consider some of the indirect ways you may be influencing them. For example, letting them win games on family game night rather than allowing them to lose can teach them to value winning over everything else, and bypasses important lessons about sportsmanship and having fun.

Have Open Discussions

It’s never too early to start talking about values and beliefs; it’s a conversation that can be scaled based on age. Talk about things that matter to your family and yourself and why you feel the way you do. Use real-life examples as they arise. One issue that many parents face is their child wanting to leave a sports team before the season is over. This is a prime opportunity to discuss making a commitment and supporting your team.

Create a safe platform for your children to ask questions about things in the real world. The more candid you are with them, the better their understanding will be in the long run.

Get Involved in the Community

Convey the importance of giving back to your community through volunteerism and support. Talk about why having a role in your community matters and how that ties into the world at large. Partaking in a weekend litter clean-up event not only makes your community look and feel better, but it also benefits the greater environment. Donating time or money to local charities helps create more resources for those in need, which could someday be you.

Admit to Mistakes

It’s ok to show your child that you are human too. Admit to them that you don’t know everything and sometimes make the wrong choice. Apologize when you lose your temper and discuss what factors drive you to make the decisions you do. As a parent, you don’t have to be perfect; you just have to try your best.

Admitting to mistakes and being imperfect is another example of modeling. It shows your children that they don’t have to be perfect, but that honesty, integrity, and self-awareness are important stepping stones for learning the right values. It’s these early lessons that will someday help your children teach their children what matters.

Chances are, you’ve already started teaching your children the right values, even if you aren’t aware of doing so. Stay the course and give them the right guidance, so that they can make empowered decisions in the future.

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