All parents want to teach their kids certain values. It’s a part of raising kids with character, right? Whether those are time-honored and traditional values or more modern values; it’s one of those things that parents do. But how do we, as modern day parents, teach these values to our kids? First, it’s a matter of figuring out what our values are. One way I’m teaching values to my 3 year old is through printable kindness cards. She can share these with others or when she’s older, I can tuck them into her lunch box or her dresser drawers. Stuck for ideas? Here are 3 ways to encourage positive values in kids.
As parents, we owe it to our children to raise them to be the type of responsible adults we want them to be. However, this challenge can be more difficult than you think. Children don’t come with guidebooks and this can make it hard for a parent to know what to do. To make it even more difficult, every child is different and may not respond to the same methods.
It’s not enough to just tell your child how they should be and then expect them to do it. Even if the child does what you want out of respect, fear or intimidation, there is no guarantee they will continue these behaviors into adulthood unless you instill positive values into them.
3 Ways to Encourage Positive Values in Kids
Rewards for Kids
We’ve mentioned one way to encourage positive values is with rewards for kids. What are some rewards and what ways can you use them? When planning rewards, you need to take different factors into consideration such as:
- The age and maturity level of the child
- The situation
- The child’s personality and interests
You want rewards to be something that will motivate the child. To do this, you have to make sure you are offering rewards that match the child. For example, you want the child to feel motivated to earn the reward so it needs to be something they will like and want to earn for themselves.
If they don’t care about the reward, they won’t have any motivation to seek it through positive behavior.
Depending on the age of your child, you can get help with rewards by asking them for their input and ideas. When your child feels they have a role in choosing the reward, they are more motivated to participate.
Rewards for kids may include:
- Behavior charts
- Sticker charts
- Small “prize boxes”
- Points system that can be added up for prizes
- Move nights
- Family game nights
- Invite a friend over night
These are just a few ideas of the types of rewards you can use for your child to encourage positive values.
In the parent and child relationship, just like in any relationship, communication is very important. Talk with your child about your own values and beliefs and give them opportunity to express their own opinions. Role-play with different moral situations and ask your child to tell you how they would handle it.
Maintain open, positive communication so your child feels comfortable coming to you with any problem, including if they make mistakes in their own life.
This communication not only allows your child the freedom and comfort of being able to come to you but it also sets an example for positive values in their other life relationships. They will maintain these values as they grow older.
Set the Example
When encouraging positive values in your own children, it’s important to set the example. While it’s easy to say, it’s not always as easy to do. The old adage of “do as I say, not as I do” does not apply. You are your child’s first role model. From birth on your child will watch you and your actions. He will base his decisions and opinions on your own.
So how can printable kindness cards help? Well you can have your child take them to school. Or you can leave them in their lunchbox.
Of course, your kids can also take these to school with them. And you can encourage them to think of other ways to be kind.
Every action you make, every word you say is viewed by your child and this is how they learn to form their own values in life.
Remember that your child is watching when you experience a situation where you are wronged, where you can help someone or where you have to make a moral decision in life. Your child will learn from your actions more than anything you can ever say to them.
Are you setting the right type of example?