Many parents have the understanding that a five-year-old doesn't understand a lot of complex ideas and values. However, this is a misunderstanding. Five-year-olds are very capable of holding values and executing them in their daily lives. Here are five values that we think five-year-olds should learn and understand.
Determination is vital for a child. It's at this time in their life they're learning how to do things, and failing on a constant basis. However, they should be taught to keep trying. It's important to teach them to try, and try again until they succeed. Determination will ensure that as they get older and things get tougher, that they don't give up.
How do you encourage this? If your child is working out with you, and copying your pushups, you should praise them. However, if you notice they're not doing the proper form, you should praise them, but encourage them to do better. Simply praising them will not encourage them to keep improving.
If you read our recent post about children copying your actions then this value will make a lot of sense to you. Children do what they see their parents do. This truth means that if you tell white lies or fib, your child will too. The issue arises when your child doesn't know the difference between a simple white lie and lying to a parent.
For example, you work out with your friend every day. However, you don't want to work out today so you tell them you are sick over the phone. Your child hears you and asks if you're sick. Since you aren't, you explain to them the difference between white lies and normal lies. While your child understands the difference between lies and truths, they don't understand the difference between types of lies.
As a child, I remember my parents saying that life isn't fair. While I understand and respect where they were coming from, I don't agree. Telling a young child that life isn't fair can send them the wrong message. Rather, you should work the teach child to be fair and just in everyday decisions.
For example, when something goes wrong, you should help them to understand why or fix it. If they are accidentally mean to someone, you should make them make amends through apologizing or working together with the person. These small actions can lead to a mature and value filled adult.
Love is perhaps the easiest thing for a young child to understand. For that same reason, it's also the easiest to show and teach. Go on mother or father and child dates to show how your child should expect love to be. Your child will pick up what love means by simply watching you interact with other people. If you want to see what they think now, just ask them! See what they think love is and what you can do to reinforce or improve their thoughts.
In a world filled with turmoil, the easiest way to help your child get an advantage is to teach them the value of kindness. Again, this value is something that they will pick up by watching you. For example, if a homeless person approaches you and they want food or money the way you respond will affect the way your child thinks. If you respond kindly and give them an apple or a dollar, your child will notice.
On the other hand, if you respond with anger, hostility, or a lie they will notice that as well. While we might initially think that the homeless person could be lying, it's important to show our child that we value kindness over mistrust. Your child will see the action and come to understand that things in the way you do.
Children are much smarter than adults give credit for. We often think that they don't understand or see many of the things that go on when the opposite is true. Think about your actions and how a child could perceive them. If you have a young child of your own, think about the values that you are teaching them now and how those will follow them for the rest of their life.