7 Lessons Your Child is Never too Young to Learn

This month my son will be 2 and a half. Crazy. And since I’ve had so much time to reflect recently (thank you quarantine), I’ve been thinking about the things I’m trying to teach my son. Actually, the things I’ve been trying to teach him, for as long as he’s been here.

Sometimes I think we don’t give the little people enough credit. We might not think they’re capable of learning things because they are too young. But just recently, I’ve started to see small signs of these lessons blossoming in my son, and I’ve got to disagree. I think the sooner we instill these values into our children, the better. So here it goes, 7 things our kids are never too young to learn.

1. Gratitude

This word is important to me because it’s something that I’m working on this year. At the beginning of life, this just looks like a please and thank you. They might not know why they’re saying it. But they accept that it’s something they’re supposed to say.

As they grow older this is realizing that no-one owes them anything. That everything anyone does for them is a gift that they should be grateful for. This means thank you notes when they receive a gift from someone. Even if they don’t know how to write, they can still scribble their thanks.The earlier these things are engrained in our children, the more likely they will grow up with a mindset of gratitude.

2. Respect

There seems to be a new way of thinking. It goes something like this: I’ll respect you, but you have to respect me first. Besides  the logical flaws of this thinking, I don’t think our actions should ever be dependent on another person. That gives them too much power.

I think it’s important that we teach our kids to respect everyone. Those older, those younger, those different; everyone. Regardless of title. I want my child to show the same amount of respect to the janitor that he shows to the CEO.

From an early age, this could be addressing people as ma’am and sir.. depending on where you’re from. But it’s also just as simple and teaching them, not to hit others, or to stay out of someone else’s personal bubble. It’s respecting others’ space and their boundaries.

3. Inclusiveness

All people are different. We look different, act differently, dress differently. The thing that I love about young kids, is, they don’t seem to notice this at first. So while inclusiveness in that way is important, that’s not what I mean, simply because, kids don’t have that problem…adults do.

I’m talking about the little kid at the playground that is all alone. Or the child that is new to playgroup, and may be feeling out of place. I think it’s important that we help our kids pick up on those cues, and we help them interact with those that may be otherwise overlooked. There may be times in their life when they will be in the same situation as the ‘new kid’, and I know they’d want that same sense of inclusiveness in return.

4. The world doesn’t revolve around them

So at some point, your child is too young to learn this. I’m talking about babies here. It really is all about them, because we have to make sure that they have what they need.

But when the toddler years come creeping, this is a lesson that is so necessary. This is when we’re teaching patience. Example: Just because you’ve decided you want me to stop making dinner and refill your juice this very second, doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to work. Here, we’re teaching patience. Everyone in our family, and even outside of it, is important. We all want different things, so we just have to wait our turn.

This is a really hard lesson to learn because at the beginning they really do run the show and then they have that stripped away. But when I’m teaching my son this, I just keep this in mind: A baby who thinks the world revolves around them is much cuter than a 16 year old who thinks the same thing. I’m trying to raise a 16 year old that I like, so we need to learn this lesson now.

5. It’s ok to have emotions

Can you imagine having all of these emotions, and not knowing how to express them?

The little ones are still trying to grasp language, so on top of these emotions, they’re frustrated because they can’t verbalize what they feel. The problem isn’t the emotion. It’s ok to feel frustrated, sad, and even angry. Those feelings are apart of life, and honestly, I feel most of those things everyday. What we need to teach our children is how to navigate through those emotions. If they feel angry, we have to show them what to do to about it. We have to provide them with healthy outlets and make sure we handle our emotions properly. We’re their prime example.

6. You are their person, and they can trust you with anything

You are your child’s advocate.

Sometimes their only one.

Our babies need to know that.

They need to feel comfortable coming to us with ANYTHING. This starts with how we react to things. Did we blow a gasket when they colored permanent marker on the floor? Probably. But even if that’s our initial reaction, we still have to come back and let them know that they are loved and give them props for coming to us when it was probably scary to do so.

This doesn’t mean they don’t face consequences, this just means that we are reinforcing that they can come to us. I hate to even mention this, but this is really important. A lot of times, abuse can go on for so long because the abuser convinces the kid to keep it a secret. That’s why this is so important. We have to make sure they feel comfortable coming to us. If someone is doing them wrong, we need to know. And when we know, we need to take action. It’s our responsibility, and it’s our honor.

Prayerfully, none of us will ever encounter that sort of situation, but there are still other reasons to be an advocate. You might need to advocate for your child in a school setting- maybe he’s being wrongly accused of something. It could be in a sports setting. It could really be in any situation. We just have to make sure that they know we’ve got them.

7. How to entertain themselves

I’m just learning this with my son, and this is something I wished I had realized it sooner. As many Pinterest ideas as there are, and as many ‘instagrammable’ moments that we see, I’ve come to tell you this: It is not your job to entertain your little person 24/7. To supervise, sure, especially at a younger age, but there is nothing wrong with letting them figure out how to handle their boredom.

These are the years when creative juices are flowing, they’re learning to think, they’re learning to imagine. It kind of seems like we rob them of some of that if all they ever have to do is show up to the entertainment that we have waiting for them. How much more fun would it be if they came up with their own entertainment? This can look like empty bottle bowling, an empty bottle can turn into drum sticks, blocks can turn into cooking ingredients, really the sky is the limit. I’m always so amazed when I watch my son concoct these cool games. I just have to allow him to do it.

Well that’s all for this week. Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below. Make life sweet and learn all you can!

(6) Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Enjoyed it. A good read. Thank you.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks for reading!

  2. ATR says:

    Great read Amie! I think you nailed it!

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you!

  3. Angelo T Haygood says:

    This article is a “James Dobson” level lesson for parents. Amie you knocked it out the ballpark. Every parent needs to know these lessons. This is what we taught our children. Amie you are a blessing.

    1. Amie says:

      Aww, thank you so much!

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