Your time and attention go a long way to helping your child develop.
"Teach your children well" echoes over the radio waves from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and it testifies to the intense desire parents have to do everything right when they raise their children. The sad reality is, however, that you can't be the parent who manages to deep clean the entire house, keep your toddler happy, get your preschooler to practice on time and have a home-cooked dinner on the table when everyone gets home. If you know one of these moms, let the world know, because she would be the first one. You can, however, let your kids know that you care and be a positive model of a good person.
1Make time for your toddler or preschooler every day. Although you may not be thrilled to have to stop putting laundry away for the second time to turn the kids' cable channel up or change a diaper, block out some time with him each day to show him you're interested in what he's doing and that you enjoy being with him. An involved parent teaches a child that he matters and serves as a model for the child to treat others likewise.
2Act like you think others are more important even when you don't feel like it. Demonstrating empathy, respect, patience and sympathy even when you may not want to shows children that altruism is the way to go. Selfless giving of time, attention and other resources teaches your child that it is important to take care of others who need some help.
3Show your toddler or preschooler hurt and suffering instead of protecting her from it all the time. This gives her a more realistic view of the world. When she decides to give, avoid rewarding her for giving except with verbal praise, and keep that to a minimum. If she gets a toy for donating the old ones, she will not learn selfless giving but will always assume she will be rewarded for doing well instead. Teach her that there are others in the world who live a less pleasant life.
4Expect your child to meet your standards of behavior and values on a consistent basis. Times will happen when you can and should break the rules to let your child have some fun. Most of the time, however, require your child to act toward others as he would have them act toward him. When your child misbehaves, talk with him to decide how he should have acted and how he will act in a similar situation in the future. Focus on the impact of his behavior as well, such as telling him, "Your behavior made your friend cry." This teaches him that his actions impact others directly.