As teachers and parents, we are responsible for creating environments that foster the emotional and cognitive development of the children we care for. The guidance provided during early childhood development will help to shape the adults that young children grow into.
It’s never too early to start teaching children character development. Research has shown that children as young as six months old can learn character traits. When children are at daycare, they learn about the world around them through play. They discover more about themselves and their peers. Here we take a look at how compassion, gratitude, and honesty can be taught to young children at daycare and at home.
Raising children who become compassionate adults takes consistent work from parents and teachers.
Adults must make conscious decisions to incorporate positive character traits into the child’s daily life. A child’s daily routine can be used to teach compassion.
At home, mealtimes can be used to achieve this. Before dinner, families can go around the table and say something nice about another family member or person seated at the table.
At school, compassion can be taught through daycare activities. Reading stories, singing songs, and role-playing themed around compassion can break down the concept practically and help young children gain a clearer understanding of what they are practicing daily.
Children learn by watching and listening.
Modeling gratitude is the first step to teaching your child to be grateful. Consciously making it a part of your every life will result in your child picking up habits of gratitude. Simple things, like saying “please” and “thank you” to and in front of your child will act as a reinforcement for good behavior.
When you do say “thank you” to your child, try to look them in the eye as this teaches sincerity.
Getting your child involved in community service from a young age is a great way to model gratitude. Actively preparing donations such as old toys or clothes creates the opportunity to speak to your child about the existence of families who are less fortunate than your own. Taking your child along when you drop off the donations can help them experience the gratitude felt by those receiving the goods and can create a love of sharing.
Teaching young children about honesty can be difficult because it is such an abstract concept to them. Children have imaginary friends, play make-belief and write creative made-up stories. It is only natural that learning honesty can be difficult for them.
At home, parents can teach honesty through their actions or through verbal affirmations. Letting your child know that they can always tell you the truth and that you value them doing so, can help them feel safe to tell you things even when they’re afraid of being punished.
Consciously saying, “thank you for telling me that” when they share things with you is a good way to reinforce positive feedback and encourage your child to continue practicing honesty.
At school, it’s important to make a clear distinction between activities so that children know when they are playing pretend and when they are required to be honest. Storytelling is useful to teach honesty. Reading stories that discuss the repercussion of lying can help children understand why being honest is important and how to practice it in their every day lives.
At Stone Brook Academy, we aim to create an environment that prioritizes children’s emotional development and academic development. Contact us today to find out more about our daycare facilities.