Every parent dreams of their children growing up to be respectful and responsible citizens who contribute to the good of society. How do we ensure this happens?
According to Leslie Hundt, Program Coordinator for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “Just as children are taught to read and learn basic skills, they must also be taught character traits such as honesty, responsibility, and respect for oneself and others.”
So how can you go about teaching your children these things? Here are some tips:
Be a Positive Role Model
Remember your children are always watching you. You are your children’s first and best teacher. Children learn proper values and behaviors when they are very young by observing the significant adults in their lives.
What children hear and see you do is considered acceptable, and they will do and say the same things. If they do not learn from an early age what is important, they will not exhibit these behaviors when they are older.
Set High Expectations and Be Clear and Consistent With Them
It is important to remember as children grow, they will test the limits from time to time. This is normal behavior for children. When you establish clearly defined expectations, and make sure you are being consistent with them, children understand what your expectations are and how to follow them.
Children learn at an early age from adults that their actions have consequences, and negative or disrespectful behaviors will not be permitted. Keep in mind it is better for children to learn from their mistakes when they are young and the consequences aren’t as great, than to wait until they are older when behaviors are harder to change.
Hundt recommends that you keep your expectations simple and avoid coming up with complicated rules. She also encourages you to keep your instructions positive, telling children how you want them to act or what you want them to say, rather than telling them what not to do.
Hundt suggests that you remind your children of your expectations frequently, especially before going to events where other families will be present and expectations will be different.
Utilize Books and Character Programs to Reinforce Positive Behaviors
Hundt recommends utilizing character programs such as the Virtues Project (https://www.virtuesproject.com/) as well as children’s books to help teach your children about the types of positive behaviors expected.
“Books such as Franklin Fibs by Paulette Bourgeois, tell the story of Franklin, who finds himself in an embarrassing predicament after telling a lie. Books like this can help parents explain the importance of being honest and the consequences of what happens when you aren’t.”
“At Ebenezer Child Care Centers, we pick two virtues every month to focus on and incorporate into our programming and daily interactions. It helps our teachers create safe, caring, and high performing early education environments where children can thrive.”
“It is critical to remember that everything you do as a parent is under the watchful eyes of your children,” states Hundt. “Modeling respectful and responsible behaviors is so important to raising good citizens.”
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other childcare providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 South 108th Street, West Allis. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.