Olympic Games #23: Young Children Learning Values

The Olympics are far more than sports. As we watched the games, we saw values at play too. What are your thoughts on children learning values? Which ones?

children learning values sharing

We could likely all agree that some important values for children to learn are kindness, friendliness, good sportsmanship, honesty, perseverance, being part of a team, and trying one’s best. During interviews, many of the athletes showed tremendous gratitude, thanking their families, coaches, and teammates. These values are part of relationships every day, both at home and later at school.

When your think of helping your child be ready for kindergarten and school, does academic preparation dominate the podium? Do you include social and emotional growth and physical development? Research is showing social and emotional issues contribute to success at school and later on.

Involvement in sports is one way to help kids learn values. They also pick them up by watching us. We need to model the behaviors we want our kids to have. The way we do things and our interactions with kids are more powerful than our explanations.

In the article for Psychology Today, Why Teaching Values Isn’t Enough, child and family psychologist Richard Weissbourd writes we need to weave values into children’s lives and their sense of self by “requiring children to help around the house, by insisting that children be respectful to us, to their friends, to our friends, and to strangers, by talking to children about why values are important–among many strategies-….” Basic social skills are part of the package as well as tools for coping with emotions.

Preschool children are not too young to learn values. Stories and books are great resources for us to use as well as real life examples, like the Olympic Games. By comparison, imparting academic and physical skills seems much easier than moral ones.

play in nature

Each athlete at the Olympics has coaches and others in the team. Parents, teachers, caregivers, and friends are part of the team for kids. How do we score as we help children learning values? Do we get gold?