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Aside from the popular table etiquette “Don’t talk when your mouth is full,” what are the life lessons that you should already teaching your kids? See if you’ve taught them all they need.
Kids are sponges. They absorb everything around them—what you tell them, what they see around them, what they hear from you. In fact, what you teach kids when they are young are the lessons they will take with them until adulthood.
By the time they are seven, you should have already taught them 10 basic values and concepts that will help them navigate through life. How many do you think your child already learned?
“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do to you.” This is the most basic of all values as it encompasses virtually everything. It is important for your child to understand reciprocity and learn empathy. What would they feel if their toys are taken from them? If they don’t like it, then other kids won’t like it either if they takes their toys. It’s all about seeing things from the other person’s lens.
By the time they are seven, they should already know the meaning of consequence. If they do something good, they get praised. If they do something bad, they are punished. Whatever they do, there’s a result. Reap and you shall sow. Do this and get that. Work hard and you’ll get a reward. Understanding that their actions have effects will greatly help them in their emotional maturity, especially in becoming responsible adults.
Yes, it’s a cliché but it is nonetheless valuable. Children often make up stories to exercise their imagination. While that is good for enhancing creativity, it is also important that you teach them to tell the truth when you need them to. Show them how lying can make them lose your trust and the trust of their friends.
In the Philippines, respect often equates to the use of “po” and “opo” or “pagmamano” to elders but really, it is so much more. It’s in how you interact with people, making sure that you are not inconveniencing them in any way. Teach your child to respect people—elder or not—by showing them courtesy. Respect their right and their space.
Kids should have already been taught the basic niceties—Don’t talk when your mouth is full, Don’t interrupt people when they are talking. Don’t play with your food. Don’t throw stuff anywhere or at people, etc.
By the time they are seven, they should already have things they are responsible for—a chore they are assigned to, a pet they should take care of. They should be doing a bit of household chores and know how to clean their own rooms. Giving them responsibilities at an early age will allow them to gain confidence and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. It also teaches them the value of hard work and teaches them leadership and self-sufficiency.
Children should be taught early on how to appreciate kindness and how to admit mistakes. Train your kids to say “Thank You” when people give them something or have done something for them. They should also know how to apologize and say “Sorry” when they are in the wrong.
At seven years old, they should already know safety basics like not playing with fire and matchsticks, not crossing the streets when alone, not playing with anything that are not theirs, not talking to strangers, not wandering alone when in a strange place, etc. Kids should also know what to do in case of emergency like fires, floods, or earthquakes.
Prepare your kids for the challenges and defeats they will encounter later in life. Teach them as early as now that “winning” should not be the goal but “doing your best” and “learning and improving.” By the time they are seven, they should already understand the concept of turning defeat into future victory by working hard and learning from past mistakes. Teach them to win the war even when they have lost the battles.