The importance of life lessons at a young age.
As a parent, you already know the importance of quality education for your child. You might even work with them on a regular basis to fortify the things they’re learning in school, or spending time with your younger children learning everything from the alphabet to numbers and shapes.
But, the “school of life” is just as important when it comes to things you should be teaching your child. Life lessons, especially those that can be taught at a young age, will carry your child forward in their own lives and help them to make better choices. Teaching your children the importance of being lifelong learners and never passing up an opportunity to listen will give them the skills they need to be confident, happy, and adjusted.
Of course, some life lessons will be better understood when your child is older. Others, however, can be taught from a very young age and built upon as your child grows. So, why are they so important early on, and what are some of the lessons you should be going over with your child?
Taking care of themselves
Self-care needs to start at an early age for everyone. While your children may not fully understand how to de-stress or decompress just yet, you can help them to establish healthy habits that they can carry with them through the rest of their lives. By teaching basic physical and mental care, you’re setting them up for a lifetime of choices that will contribute to their overall wellness. Simple things that young children can learn quickly include:
- Which foods are good to eat (and why)
- Why activity is important for strong bones and a healthy heart
- How to clean themselves and stay healthy
- The importance of hand-washing (even in a post-COVID world)
- How to brush their teeth to keep their teeth clean and healthy
The good news when it comes to teaching your children healthy habits is that you can turn many things into a game or fun experience for them. For example, playing outside with them in the yard can help to create lasting childhood memories, but it’s a great way for them to get physical activity and show them that exercise can be fun.
Keep things as positive as possible when it comes to teaching your children how to take care of themselves. Doing so will encourage them to have a positive attitude of their own, and they’ll be excited about nurturing their minds and bodies as they get older.
Showing respect and compassion
One of the best life lessons you can teach your children at a young age is to be respectful of others and to show compassion to everyone. In a world that often seems divided, these two traits can go a long way. There are plenty of effective ways to raise compassionate and respectful children, but the best thing you can do is to “walk the walk”. Your kids observe you more than you may realize. So, be respectful and compassionate in your everyday life, and you’ll be leading by example.
Additionally, make sure your child receives respect and compassion from you. Some parents make the mistake of thinking children don’t deserve respect or compassion. Unfortunately, that even carries over into extreme situations, like if there is domestic violence occurring in the home. If you choose not to believe your children that they are being abused, or if you don’t interact with them with compassion, you could be causing a huge list of negative short-term and long-term effects.
No child is too young to have your respect when it comes to them being heard and valuing their thoughts and feelings. Why your child is on the receiving end of respect and compassion, it will be easier for them to naturally treat others the same way.
Living life with honesty
Honesty really is the best policy. While that’s an old saying that parents often use to keep their kids from lying, don’t be afraid to go one step further than that. Teaching your child to live a life of honesty from a young age will help them to become trustworthy, respected adults.
Every child will tell a white lie here and there, just like adults. But, stressing the importance of honesty can help your child to understand the consequences of those lies.
Is it really possible to “raise” honest kids? While you can’t ensure that they will never tell a lie, there are things you can do to encourage them to live their lives without deception, including:
- Modeling honesty to them
- Sharing positive stories of how honesty has helped you or others
- Telling them how happy telling the truth makes you
- Never rewarding a lie
- Praise them for being honest
There are dozens of life lessons that can benefit your children from a very young age, so don’t limit yourself to the ones listed here. Think about what’s most important to you, and the values you want your children to grow up with. Remember, life lessons are meant to stick with them as they grow, so getting these values and ideals into your child now can have a major positive impact on the type of person they grow up to be.