Communication Pack for Development of Positive Values

Why is it important to get parents to communicate the importance of positive values to children

As a classroom teacher, I love it at the start of a new year, I get to inherit a fresh class of new children to impact and influence. I place a lot of emphasis on character development as part of classroom management. I always give a simple analogy to my class that good character is like getting the first button right when you get dressed. Once the first button is right, everything else like academic excellence and positive attitude will fall in place!

It is also pertinent that positive values that are taught in school is also
Emphasized and practiced at home as well. That way, consistency and congruency is established between home and school. You also get parents to be on the same page as you!

For communication purpose, I have prepared a small take-home pack with a communication slip for parents to discuss with their children. Each object represents a positive value and acts as a visual reminder for children. It may also be hard for children to fully comprehend abstract concepts like love, kindness or motivation. So I wrote in pointers for parents to unpack the meaning and help them see how it looks like in action, thought and behaviour.

Communication Pack:

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Each object represents positive values or behaviour.

1.  Styrofoam Heart– Love and respect oneself and others

2.  ABC/123 stamp– Give your best in learning.

3. Paper Clip– Be creative and learn to problem-solve.

4. Pencil– Be diligent and hardworking

You may use these objects to discuss and unpack the meaning of each value with your child.

  1. 1.    Love and respect oneself and others (Heart)                                                                                                                                                                                                      IMG_9116

–       Take good care of yourself and your personal hygiene

–       Do to others what you like others do to you

–       Be kind and help others

–       Respect and obey teachers. Greet and listen to your teachers.

2.    Give your best in learning (ABC Foam)

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–       Pay full attention to the teacher and learn well in class

–       Be neat and tidy in your work

–       Check your work after completion

–       Set small goals for yourself to achieve

3.    Be creative and learn to problem-solve (Papaer Clip: Get the child to create shapes and animals with the paper clips!)

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–       Learn to be independent and do tasks on your own

–       Use your thinking to solve problems

–       Don’t be afraid to fail and try again

–       Be resilient and learn from your mistakes

4.    Be diligent and hardworking (Pencil) 

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–       Finish your work on time.

–       Do not talk or distract yourself with other objects during lesson

–       Be consistent in handing in homework on time

–       Learn your spelling well and prepare well for tests

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A Brand New Me! New Year resolutions

A brand new year has arrived! Fresh start fresh beginnings!

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For our little ones, what are our thoughts and resolutions for them? What vision do we have for them in terms of character growth and development?

Character development is important and crucial in the formative years. For most of us, our values and dispositions are shaped by our upbringing and what our parents emphasized growing up. Young children are very easily influenced by the examples showed by parents and peers.

For my 3-year old preschooler, there were certainly character traits that she has grown and matured in for the past year… like learning to be more independent and responsible over her belongings. I sought to applaud and celebrate her little successes and commendable efforts, with praises, hugs and rewards. For this coming year, I believe that we can envision a ‘better me’ for our little ones. More importantly than academic and cognitive milestones, we can help them develop our children socially and holistically.

For this, I created a door hanger with clothes pegs to signify each character trait or virtue  that she wants to develop in. It serves as a visual reminder for them!

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Remember to unpack what each value means in terms of action and thoughts! For example: Being patient means having to wait your turn and sometimes having your request fulfilled at a later time and date. Taking good care of yourself means keeping yourself clean and healthy ( brushing your teeth, bathing before bed, eating well).

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Tips on reiterating the values:
1. Model exemplary behaviour for your child. Parents are great models for children!
2. Be quick to catch them doing right!
3. Shower them with praise, hugs and rewards! A little goes a long way and certainly helps to reinforce the positive behaviour!
4. Use visual aids like door hanger or poster to communicate the values to them.
5. Use teachable moments as opportunities to help them apply the values in real situations!

It does take a lot of patience and consistency to emphasize and inculcate good values in our little ones (I know its not easy!)

But it definitely pays off seeing them blossom and flourish into children with good character! Let this be our little resolution and vision as parents this year too!

Blessed new year! Have a great year ahead, everyone! 🙂

Lynn 🙂

The Kindness Jar- ways to encourage kindness

Teaching Kindness 

Teaching my child how to be kind to others is probably one of the most important character lessons to me. Being kind to others can span from being thoughtful to others, having empathy for someone else, feeling compassion for the less fortunate and lending a helping hand to those in need. Children actually are born with an innate desire and instinct to empathize and be considerate toward others.

The rewards for children who extend kindness to others are tremendous. Research has also shown that children who helped others tend to feel good about themselves. They are able to anticipate what others feel or think (perspective-taking) and learn to help others by using their problem-solving skills. In doing so, they also learn social skills, learn to work in teams and build friendships which are all core to their social development.

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There are many ways you can encourage kindness at home or in school:

1. Talk about kindness
Share with the children what it means to be kind to others. List examples and seize teachable moments or opportunities for your child to learn how to be kind. For very young children, be specific about the ways they can be kind to others by listing down the kind acts as examples.  Read books about kindness. There are many books out there who has characters learning how to be kind and exhibit stories where it pays to be kind. Stories can be one of the best ways to inspire your child!

2. Appreciate uniqueness of others
Discuss how each person is unique in his or her own way. They can be different physically, have different ways of doing things or different personalities. Show your child some leaves and ask your child to pinpoint how different each leaf is, or explain how we have different thumbprints and that’s how God made each and everyone of us special. Imagine a world where every flower or person is the same! That would be boring! We are to respect and appreciate the uniqueness of others and accept that it is perfectly alright if someone else is different from us.

3. Making kindness a rule in the house or school
Put up visual reminders at home or school to encourage your child how to be kind! Come up with short catch phrases like “A little kindness goes a long long way!” and use them as quick easy reminders for your children whenever an opportunity to be kind pops up during the day! Also, be quick to catch them doing kind things or saying kind words, and it will reinforce positive behaviour in children!

4. Model kindness
Be a role model especially for young children. Do kind acts and show them how to be kind to their friends by explicitly telling them to share, to hug someone who is crying, etc. And make sure you do the same and is consistent with your interaction with other family members too 🙂 Not an easy feat for any parent, especially when you are tearing your hair out with all the kids running around!

5. Celebrate kind deeds!
Be quick to catch them doing right! Praise and rewards like the kindness jar sure motivates them to want to be kind over and over again! Over time, children will progress from having these extrinsic motivation to being intrinsically motivated to help others for the reward of seeing others happy!

How to use the Kindness Jar

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You simply need a jar or plastic container, and fill it up with pom poms or coins, or penne pasta!

Here are 10 examples on how your child can be kind:

1. Help Mummy to put away the toys

2. Help out with simple chores like wiping the table, clearing the plates after a meal

3. Make a card for someone’s birthday

4. Hug someone when they are sad or crying

5. Assure someone everything will be alright when they have a problem

6. Offer someone a tissue when they cry.

7. Give someone a plaster when they fall down.

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8. Tell someone “I love you” or “thank-you”.

9. Appreciate the ideas of others by saying, “Great idea!”

10. Share your toys or food with a friend to make them happy!

Once they fill up the little jar with pom poms, you can reward them by doing something kind for your child  in return! 

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Lessons to learn from Disney Princesses

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My little girl is so obsessed with Disney Princesses now! She draped herself with a towel around her head to pretend she is the divine Rapunzel with long, endless golden hair. She adorns herself with glittery jewellery and parades herself in front of the mirror.  She curtsies and smiles the sweetest smile, coupled with a hand wave that typifies the manners of royalty. I realised that every little girl dreams to be a princess. The Disney fairy tales that heralds the victorious stories and glories of Princesses have painted them to carry the picture of beauty and attractiveness. Much as I want my girl to love the idea she is a princess, I want her to discover that a true princess has virtues and character traits that are more lasting and enduring than merely outward beauty.

But most of it all, I tell my little girl, she is always beautiful and accepted in God’s eyes, and Mummy and Daddy will always believe in her. We affirm her she has so much to give to the world, because God has bestowed to her so many gifts and talents.

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And so, in our journey on reading about Disney Princesses, I have endeavored to impart these lessons for each Princess:

Snow White

Friendship can come in unexpected places, and from unexpected people. Jealousy and envy always leads to trouble.

Cinderella

We are all familiar with the predicament of Cinderella who had to bear with the abuse and ill-treatment of her step-sisters and step-mother. Remind your child about Cindrella’s virtues of patience and long-suffering, and how dreams do come true for those who wait and hope for the best.

Belle

Point to her passion for books and reading. Look beyond first impressions and look for the best in people, especially those who seemingly are not well-loved and accepted.

Rapunzel

Be  adventurous enough to venture out to the unknown world. In being courageous to explore, you learn who you really are.

Mulan

She represents Asian virtues of sacrifice and filial piety. Highlight how she risks her life to save her father and eventually thousands in China. Her relentless courage and bravery makes her realise she can achieve more than she thinks. Don’t let others dictate what you can or cannot do.

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Aurora

Aurora is the Sleeping Beauty who seems to be the victim of  circumstances. However despite all odds, the good always triumphs over evil, and love always conquers.

Ariel

My personal favourite is Ariel. Not just for her musical singing talent, she has the passion to pursue her wildest dreams. Assure your child not to afraid of the unknown, have faith to step out and discover who you can be. You never know where your little adventure will take you!