In the early years of childhood, little ones soak up every experience like a sponge. They watch how their peers, parents, and siblings interact with the world around them, picking up behaviors and values that begin to shape their overall character. Learning the difference between right and wrong and good and bad is essential at an early age. As they grow up and become more susceptible to outside influences, such as access to social media, it is so important that your little one has a firm grasp of right and wrong. Of course, life obstacles are inevitable, but they will be better equipped to make good decisions. Little ones in preschool online, homeschool preschool, and traditional preschool alike will benefit from these important values.
Try practicing these important values with your little one with activities you both will enjoy!
Respect teaches us that even when someone’s view does not match our own, we can still show that person we care about what they have to say. Spending time with older relatives is a great way to show your little one that their elders have a lot of insight and life experience to learn from, even though they are so much older than them. Teaching your little one respect instills a care for others and themselves, and can prevent bullying in early childhood and later in life! You can practice respect and consent with a tickle/freeze game you can play with your little one. You go back and forth being the tickler, but the tickler has to first ask if it is ok to tickle the other. If the answer is yes, then you tickle until the person being tickled says “stop” and you stop. This can help little ones learn how to respect other people’s boundaries by stopping when they are told, as well as respecting their own boundaries, by telling the tickler to stop when they have had enough. For more on teaching consent to your children, check out this article on our preschool online!
Learning responsibility lets your child see how capable they are. As your little one grows more independent, they may start having responsibilities around the house. Maybe your little one is intrigued by cooking - how could they help get dinner ready? They can set the table, they could even be responsible for a dish! (Depending on their experience level.) If you have plants around the house, let your little one be responsible for watering one or two of them. Share with them what the plants look like when they need water, more sun, etc. It’s a great built-in science lesson for little ones in preschool online or homeschool preschool! If you have a family pet, try letting them have one job that they can do to help take care of them. It could be feeding the pet breakfast, cleaning up after the pet, brushing the pet, etc.
When kids are given everything they ask for as soon as they ask for it, they can begin to think that is the way it will always be. Learning gratitude not only encourages an appreciation for the world around us, but also benefits our mental health. Follow this link to our preschool online for gratitude exercises to try with your family!
The act of charity is sharing what you have with people who may be less fortunate. In other cases it’s just helping people in need. One of the ways to teach your child this value is through donating toys, food, and/or clothes. You can take time to explain to your child how there are a lot of families, just like theirs, that are a lot less fortunate. It is important to share the excess that we have with people who need it more because what we do not need anymore can make another family very happy. If your little one struggles with letting go of some of their belongings, be an example. Show them something that you love but are ready to part with because you know it is going to make someone else very happy.
Empathy is one of the most important values we can teach children. Showing kindness to others builds community and creates a kinder world. Teach you little one about random acts of kindness. If you are doing preschool online or homeschool preschool, this makes for an excellent lesson and activity. Then on strips of paper, write down some random acts of kindness and put them in a jar. They could be “make a thank you note for a family member,” or “help a sibling clean up a mess,” or “share a toy that means a lot to you.” Let them see how showing someone they care can brighten someone’s day.
Having courage teaches our little ones that we can do hard things. It’s important to stress that it is okay to be scared while you try something new. Hopping out of comfort zones can be daunting, but learning this skill will help them when they come up against tougher obstacles down the road. When trying new things, maybe going down a big hill on a bike, encourage them to push their limits. Let them know you believe in them and, if today is not the day for trying this new thing, applaud their effort and reassure them that they will do it when they are ready. Additionally, always remind them that whatever happens that you will be right there cheering them on.
Unfortunately, little ones learn how to lie at some point and it can quickly turn into a habit. Stressing the idea of honesty and how it is the right thing to do helps little ones learn that even if they do something they were not supposed to, their support system will be there for them and be happy that they told the truth. There are so many books about honesty and the consequences of lying. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is a great jumping off point. Also, feel free to share your experiences. Maybe there were times as a child you lied and had consequences - share what that taught you with your little one to let them know we all make mistakes, but at the end of the day, honesty is always the best policy.
Miss Charlotte is an Education Director by trade, and a mom by heart. All 200+ of our DIY projects were created by Miss Charlotte, with the help of her expert DIY assistant—Her 4 year old daughter! With a MST degree in Early Childhood Education and 15 years of teaching experience, her blogs and DIY projects have been an incredible resource for our Playgarden Prep schools. We hope that your family loves them as much as we do!