Teaching important values to young kids
When I was growing up, my mom made me do all types of chores. As I look at our generation of kids and all that they have sometimes it seems impossible to get them to do what we used to do. Once piece of advice my mom gave me was, no matter how much money you have, how much help you have or how much you do for your kids, ALWAYS teach them the value of earning a dollar and how important it is to give and be thankful.
We have really been working with our kids on embracing these values. My boys are 2 and 5, some people may think that is too young, but from my experience, ever since we have started we have seen differences in their personalities in a positive way.
Here are some things we have been doing:
- Giving them chores: Very simple chores like making their bed (my 5 year old). Both kids empty the non-glass portions of the dishwasher. The 2 year old puts away all the utensils and my older one puts away the other dishes. They put away their own laundry besides the ones on the hangers. They start to appreciate everything you do in the house.
- Enforcing manners: We are teaching them that anytime you ask for something you say please or when you get something or someone helps you, you say thank you. We are teaching them to hold doors open for others and talk to people with nice voices. No demands or screaming.
- Spending their money: While they’re too young to talk to them about getting a credit card no credit history or teaching them about tax, it’s always best to teach them about money while they’re young so they have a better understanding of those things when they’re older. This is more for my 5 year old but we are focusing on him understanding how important it is to use your money wisely. Some weeks we give him $5.00 and he can use it the way he wants but we explain to him different options. Last week he put $4.00 towards feedings kids in need and $1.00 towards 1 snack to share with his brother. The look on his face when he learned his donation help feed a kid a whole meal was priceless. Some weeks he splurges and buys stuff for himself…which is fine but we make him understand to do that if he thinks he has been doing a good job overall.
- Importance of family and friends: We are teaching them, your money can come and go but you friends and family will be there for you. We encourage them to face time with their family that is far away and we as parents really try to make an effort to keep a strong relationship with friends. They mail drawings to their cousins or I set up last minute dinner dates so they can spend time with their friends.
- Helping others: We are explaining to them how good it feels when you help someone. We ask them at dinner how they helped others and teach them that helping can be something simple like helping a friend open his lunch box. They don’t need huge goals here but teaching them to always try and help when you come across a situation.
- Material things don’t matter: This has been a huge one in our house. Our kids have a lot of stuff and yes we have gotten it for them but that comes along with teaching them that at the end of the day an iPad won’t help you in need. Yes it’s fun at the time but family, friends and your relationships with them is what matters. Teaching them if they don’t get TV time for one day really won’t make a difference when they wake up the next morning.