Many parents think that it’s premature to teach values to a toddler or preschooler. But that’s a misconception. There are five values that all children should develop by their fifth birthday, and some ways to make them stick.
Those values are: Honesty; Justice; Determination; Consideration; and Love. I will address each one in a separate blog, so look for all five blogs. Today we will explore the third of these values, Determination.
Value #3: Determination – Encourage Them to Take on a Challenge.
Five-year-old Jake showed his mother a drawing that he’d made with his new crayons. “That’s very bright and colorful,” she told him. “Nice job!” The child then ran to his room and dashed off another drawing to bring to his mom for praise – then another and another. “Each one was sloppier than the last,” his mother said. “I didn’t know what to say.” A good response might have been: “Well, Jake, that drawing isn’t as carefully done as your other one. Did you try your best on that?”
Determination is a value that you can encourage from a very young age. The easiest way to do so is by avoiding excessive praise and by providing children with honest feedback, delivered in a gentle, supportive fashion.
Another powerful way to help kids develop determination is to encourage them to do things that don’t come easily – and to praise them for their initiative. If your son is shy, for instance, quietly encourage him to approach kids on the playground, even if it makes him feel nervous and scared. If your daughter is quick to blow a fuse, teach her strategies, such as counting to ten or taking a deep breath, for holding back a temper tantrum. Congratulate kids when they manage to do things that are difficult for them. The child who hears “Good for you, I know that was really tough!” is bolstered by the recognition and becomes even more determined to keep trying.
Having a child is a great gift – but also a big responsibility. Give some of these suggestions a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Adapted from an article in Parents Magazine.