There is a vast variety of opinions regarding what, and how, to teach your child by a certain age. With all the opinions flying around, it can be difficult to make confident decisions. Additionally, many people will insist children don’t fully understand values or honorable traits until they are older or in school- which is completely untrue. Many parents and people alike would be surprised to know how quickly children pick up on mannerisms, verbiage, and tendencies from their parents, or the world around them. As a result, we have comprised a list of important things to teach your child early on, even before kindergarten.

Hygiene

Every parent can attest to the stink that comes with any child. The dirt, grime, and sticky substances never seem to subside as they age. Even though your child will likely not be able to fully complete hygiene practices by themselves, establishing a routine when they are young is extremely influential and will help them follow through as they grow older. Some of these include:

  • Brushing their teeth
  • Washing their hands
  • Toilet hygiene- flushing, using toilet paper, etc.
  • Nail clipping and cleaning

Just to name a few. These are all essential facets of daily health and hygiene routines every child will need to know as they get older. Encourage them to show you how well they can do each task without your help, and then go back in to cover areas they may have missed. This is also a great way to bond with your child over necessary routines.

Willpower

One of the most valuable traits you can teach your little one early on, is strength in their determination. When you encourage your little one to finish an activity or task appointed to them, you teach them the importance of finishing strong. This can be a fine line for some parents because it appoints to you to call out your child’s good work, versus their best work, and encourage them to do their best.

Let’s say your little one goes to clean their room, but rather than putting their toys in the designated bin or chest, they push them into a heap in the corner because they’re planning to play with them later. Even though their room may appear “clean”, ask them if they did their very best to clean it, and ask prompting questions like “Is there somewhere else you could have put your toys?”.

Calling out the best in your child is not a discouraging act, as some may perceive. Challenging your little one to hoan in on their task and put forth their best effort is a great attribute to work on instilling in them at a young age. To further encourage this concept, challenge them to complete something a bit more difficult, focusing on encouraging their effort. Feel free to cater this to the personality of your little one. For example, if you take your child to a park and you find they’re shy to interact with other kids their age, encourage them to go ask one to play while you sit and watch. Afterward, make sure to give them praise for conquering their fear of initiating conversation or interaction with other kids.

Identifying difficult tasks for your child and encouraging them to complete them by doing their best and practicing until they get it right, is a valuable lesson to teach them early on.

Being Honest

In our opinion, it’s never too early to start exemplifying honesty to your little one and encourage them to tell the truth. First off, the best way to teach honesty to your child, is to exemplify it yourself, even in difficult situations. Let’s say you have a time you’re scheduled to meet with a friend and their child for a play date, but you decide you really aren’t sure if you want some of the behaviors from the other child to influence yours. When you call to talk with the parent, rather than telling a lie about something coming up in your busy schedule, or that you’re not feeling well, be honest.

Any parent can tell you that children watch you and pick up a lot more than we realize, this includes how we handle situations with others. If you end up lying to the other parent on the phone and your little one hears, it’s possible they will end up asking something along the lines of, “What other busy things do we have to do, mom?”, or “Are you and I sick, daddy?”.

This will end up teaching them that telling a lie of a particular type is okay. Something you never want to promote.

To further encourage your child to be honest with you, be aware of how you respond to them. If you tend to yell or get mad easily with your child when they disobey, it’s likely they will lie more often simply to avoid the reaction. Instead, try staying calm when you see something broken or out of place, and let them know you’re not going to yell at them, but you do need to know the truth. The more follow through you have with this approach, the more likely your child is to tell the truth down the road.

Problem Solving

Especially for those with toddlers, tantrums are all too familiar, and it’s almost always in a public place. Any parents that have more than one child, an endeavor to do any sort of errands bares a striking resemblance to a war zone. In the midst of a grocery or department store, it’s unlikely you will be able to negotiate with your little one when they have an outburst. Generally these incidents will stem from not getting something they want, or simply being tired. To help teach your child how to handle this situations better, talk with them beforehand and encourage them to come up with a solution.

For instance, if they tend to get upset when they aren’t allowed to get out of the cart, ask them what would help them be happier sitting for awhile, such as a toy or a snack. Addressing this ahead of time and talking through what you will expect from them and their behavior will help prevent tantrums, as well as develop a plan together.
At Yellow Brick Road, we strive to teach each child the valuable lessons necessary to succeed as individuals, as well as early academic practices. As an early childhood development center, we take great pride in encouraging your child’s potential early on, while helping them learn more about themselves and others. Utilizing the gold curriculum, our staff is compassionate, nurturing, and prepared to build and encourage your child as the grow. We have two locations for your convenience and offer tours of our facility. Contact us today with any questions or concerns, we can’t wait to meet you and your little one.