A few weeks ago, my sister commented “Oh my gosh, you have to deal with like real kid problems now. Not just what are they going to eat for lunch? Like real parenting stuff.” That’s when it hit me…
For so many years we worried about diaper changes, sleep schedules and healthy snacks. Things were changing. Our kids were growing up. Soon my husband and I started asking each other “How do we raise good kids?” and “How do we raise kids without messing them up!?” The questions kept coming.
What values do we want to instill in our children? How are we going to handle misbehavior? How do we teach our kids to be kind to others?
We are learning it’s important to have these discussions. And guess what? We don’t always agree on the same parenting tactics. But years ago motherhood quickly taught me there is more than 1 way to do something.
I also learned we are going to make mistakes. We aren’t going to get it right every time. We aren’t experts. But that’s part of the journey.
We’ve taken some time to intentionally think about our parenting style. It might change as we go, but for now we are hoping to plant seeds in our children and watch them bloom with time.
In this post we share 5 intentional ways to instill good values in your kids.
Certainly there are more than 5 ways to share love and honesty with our children, but here are a few easy and practical steps to installing good values in our kids.
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Model The Behavior You Want Them To Learn:
This seems SO easy, yet it’s something I think we often take for granted. We are our children’s greatest role models. Here is one example. If we want our kids to have a healthy balance with screen time, we need to ask ourselves “Do I have a healthy grip on how much time I spend on my phone?” I’ll be honest, I don’t always like the answer!
If we want to raise children with good values we must take a look in the mirror. We need to ask ourselves questions like:
What do we value? What are we doing to better ourselves? What example are we showing our children? Are we loving others as much as we love ourselves?
Before we teach our kids lessons in kindness or honesty we need to re-evaluate the values we are holding on to.
Teach Our Kids Emotional Intelligence:
If we want our children to learn to how to be honest, trustworthy, compassionate, etc. then we must teach them what that looks like. As a psychologist I am very interested in emotions, coping skills and emotional intelligence.
I believe it’s a foundation for empathy. If we can understand feelings and emotions then we are better able to show compassion toward people who are feeling stressed, upset, anxious. It’s easier to take someone else’s perspective and offer empathy when we have a foundational knowledge of emotional intelligence.
I believe when we are able to identify our own feelings, we can start doing this with other people. Understanding feelings and showing compassion toward people who are feeling stressed or anxious is a great life skill!
Engage in Giving as a Family:
It’s important to model our values and talk about good morals, but it goes beyond just talking about it. If we really want to instill good values in our kids we need to take action.
One way to do this is by giving as a family. When you take action and live out what you are saying it makes a greater impact.
There are many ways to do this and you can decide what works best for your family. One way we’ve decided to do this is by sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We love sharing with our children how our sponsored child is doing. They even get in on writing letters and drawing pictures for him.
Brainstorm ways you can share compassion with your community. As our kids get older we will get them in on the process. Ask them questions like “How can we spread kindness to our friends? Our neighbors? Our family?”
Tuck Your Child In:
This may sound like a silly way to instill good values, but I can’t emphasize enough how important a bedtime routine is with children. I remember my mom saying bedtime was one of the best chances to catch up on the day. She tucked me in until I left for college!
She said she did it with all her kids until we no longer wanted it. Kids share things right before bed. I’ve noticed this with our children. This is the time of day where distractions are limited and they want to talk.
It’s so easy to jump right in and try to fix any problem our kids may face, but what if we used this time to just listen? To listen without judgment or lecture? To listen and build a trusting relationship with our kids? I think it could be very powerful!
Especially as our kids get older we want to make sure we are available to listen, encourage and share these special moments with our kids. So keep that communication line open!
Share Your Faith Together:
Last but certainly not least we want to share our faith with our children. The Bible tells us in Matthew 22: 36-37 (NIV): “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the foundation of it all! Love God, Love People.
So to do this we go to church together, sing worship songs in our living room and read The Jesus Storybook Bible with them before bed.
For young kids we really like this Bible because it retells the scripture in a kid friendly way. Books are are a great way to guide discussion and help you in your journey to raising children with good values.
So that’s it! A few ways to cultivate kind hearts in the next generation.
So what about you? Are you intentional about raising children with good values? What has worked for your family? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
How Are You Raising Children With Good Values?