Giving children responsibilities helps them build character.
Toddlers and preschoolers may look sweet as pie, but as every mom knows, their behavior isn't always so innocent and adorable. Teaching morals to children is a long process, so don't worry if your munchkin isn't keen on sharing in the sandbox or saying "sorry," much less meaning it. However, taking steps to encourage your child's moral development when she is young will pay off later.
1Set a good example, and make sure you practice what you preach. Kids love to imitate, so don't expect them to be moral paragons if you're not. Plus, your discussions about honesty and respect will make more sense if they see you acting out your values in your life.
2Read children's books that feature moral dilemmas. Then discuss the books with your children and encourage them to think about why characters acted the way they did. You can also ask older children to connect the book to their own experiences.
3Encourage empathy by explaining your actions and helping your children imagine how others feel. For example, instead of telling them to play with an excluded child, say, "Imagine how lonely you'd feel if Chris didn't play with you. She's probably feeling sad because no one will play with her." Developing empathy takes time and practice, so be persistent.
4Set firm guidelines and enforce them. Rules teach children self-control and help them build self-esteem. However, make sure your expectations are realistic, and motivate your kids with positive reinforcement, not fear and punishment. In addition, be prepared to explain the reasons behind your rules.
5Give children responsibilities that allow them to feel the rewards of helping others. For example, young children can help around the house; older children can help babysit younger children or take care of pets.
- Make sure your expectations are reasonable. For example, young children will need reminders to share.If your child does something that requires consequences, choose a strategy that focuses on the victim. For example, if he steals candy from a store, have him apologize to the manager. If he gets an allowance, he can repay the money; if not, prohibit him from eating candy at home for a week.