There are many skills that our children are expected to learn and master in order to excel in today’s fast-changing world. In our bid to give them the best things in life, we do what we can to give them the foundation to these skills. At the same time, there are many life lessons that parents should not miss out on teaching their children. These life lessons and values will help your children cope with the challenges of the real world with grace and confidence as they grow up.
Here are some life lessons and values to impart to your children during the tender growing up years:
1. Lessons on good manners
Good manners should be inculcated in children from the day they are born, for this helps them interact with the people they meet in their daily lives and shapes them into a loving and considerate person.
You can teach your children the basics of good manners from the day he or she is born. Use common phrases such as “Please” and “Thank you” when you are interacting with your child, and keep up with this as he/she grows up. Do make it a habit to use these phrases when he shares his favourite items with you. Although your child may not be able to express himself during the early years, he is observing your moves and actions and learning to make sense of the interactions taking place. The more you model the basics of good manners, these examples will become a part of your child’s life in time to come.
2. The value of honesty
It is important that we teach our children about the value of honesty and explain to them the consequences of lying. As children learn by taking our actions as an example, we need to make a conscious effort to show them that they should always strive to tell the truth. For example, if you tell your friend that you can’t attend their party because the whole family will be away and then head out for dinner with the family instead, your child will think that it is alright to tell a white lie occasionally. Instead, explain to your child that he/she should always aim to tell the truth – and that they should not attempt to make others feel better by telling white lies.
3. The joy of learning
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go”
– Dr. Seuss
The quote above by popular children’s author, Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, puts across the fact that learning is a life-long journey and that it leads to a world of opportunities. While you help your children to develop a love of reading, do also point out to them that there are many ways to learn new things apart from reading. Encourage them to open their minds to new experiences and learn from life situations and the people that they cross paths with.
4. The courage to speak up
As much as you’d like to protect your child as he/she goes through the ups and downs in life, you may not be able to step in all the time. Thus, teaching your child to speak up and stand up for himself is one of the most valuable lessons that you can impart during the growing up years. This helps to give him the courage to ask questions when he does not understand what is being taught in class and the confidence to put across his thoughts and ideas to others as an adult.
5. How to manage money
We go to great lengths to teach our children essential life skills such as reading, writing and to play various games, but we don’t seem to spend time or do enough to teach them about money management. This life skill should be taught from the moment your children start receiving an allowance for school, as it helps them learn about the importance of saving, how to budget their money and the consequences of spending more than what they can afford. By giving your children a good head start in money management, they will grow up with a sense of responsibility when it comes to money matters.
6. Make healthy food choices
Children adopt their eating habits and lifestyle based on what they have been practicing from young. So, do make it a point to prepare healthy meals for the family despite your busy daily schedule as this will help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Some of the key aspects of healthy eating involves portion control and limiting the fat and sugar that your child consumes. Apart from ensuring that your child’s meals are complete with the vital nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate and fibre, you can also offer smarter snack choices such as a bowl of fruits instead of chocolates and cookies.
7. Resolve disagreements peacefully
As we go through life, there will be instances where disagreements occur with the people we meet and communicate with. We need to teach our children the art of staying calm when facing disagreements and confrontations. Get your child to take a deep breath and look at the issue from all sides by asking himself/herself questions such as “why” and “what if”. This helps them focus on the problem at hand and not to bear grudges against the other person, and to keep negative emotions such as anger, rage and dissatisfaction under control.
8. Lend a helping hand to others
Being kind to others by lending a helping hand is all it takes to brighten up someone’s day – be it helping to fold the laundry or to help an elderly neighbour with her bag of groceries. So, do encourage your children to lend a helping hand whenever the opportunity arises. This teaches them values such as compassion and empathy, as they show care to others and put the needs of others first before that of their own.
9. To live life with happiness and positivity
Life may not be a bed of roses all the time, neither should it be dark and gloomy. It is essentially a mix of ups and downs which paves the way for rich learning experiences. So, do encourage your children to focus on the positives, count their blessings and find joy in the little things that bring happiness – such as a loving family and a nice, cosy home to live in. By adopting a positive mindset, your children will develop the resilience to cope with all the challenges that come their way and emerge stronger, wiser than before.
10. To love with all their hearts
Love conquers all, and it is the one thing that ignites your child’s passions in life. Besides showering our children with love, we need to teach them to love unconditionally with all their hearts. This involves accepting others not for what they do or are capable of, but to love them for who they are. By doing this, your children will pick up important values such as the ability to respect other people’s choices (even if they do not agree with them), and to be their true selves without succumbing to what others expect of them.