3 Things to Teach our Kids During Children’s Awareness Month
June is a fitting time for Children’s Awareness Month as the name for this month comes from the Latin word for youth. Those of us who are parents are certainly aware of our youth and the issues that they face. And yet there are always ways we can each grow and learn more. As parents, the children we can influence the most are our own. So let’s look at 3 things to teach our kids during Children’s Awareness Month.
What’s the point of Children’s Awareness Month?
The intent of Children’s Awareness Month is to help kids in our society have an increased sense of confidence to go forward and succeed in the future. Sometimes kids get swept aside in our world. They can be seen as incapable or as a nuisance. In several parts of our society, children are still expected to be seen and not heard.
It certainly is important for us to teach our kids how to be respectful in various situations. Yet we still want our kids to know that they are valuable and appreciated. And yes, it is possible to do both. We can empower our kids to be themselves. And we can teach them to handle themselves appropriately in places where there are more adults.
In fact, when we teach our kids self control, we are giving them a tool that they will need to succeed in life. And so, there is the first thing to teach our kids during Children’s Awareness Month. Let’s teach our kids self control.
We can teach our kids self control
Even the smallest kids can begin to learn about self control. We teach our littlest ones to behave themselves and wait in their high chairs. This is training in self control.
We teach toddlers to wait their turns. This is training in self control.
As our kids grow older, we hear a lot of “I want.” We can teach our kids that we don’t always operate by our wants. One helpful definition of contentment for little ones is, “I have my ‘wanter’ under control.” The phrase “I want” is not something that is acceptable in my house. And yes, I have to correct myself when that phrase, “I wan’t,” comes out of my own mouth.
Even though this might sound really strict, it helps us all so much. We have to think about what we’re really saying when we say, “I want.” As we think through it, we have to choose a different way to express a real need, like asking politely, or we have to recognize that we might be demanding too much of someone else. We might need to adjust our expectations and be gracious.
But when we ask ourselves to consider our “I want” statements like this, it helps our mindsets to be less selfish. It teaches us to consider what it is that we are wanting, and to think through whether that is really the best thing for this moment. This willingness to evaluate our wants helps us all learn some self control.
We can teach our kids to state their needs
So it might sound like we are just saying to hold back on stating our needs. But we are saying to evaluate what we want to see if it’s an actual need.
We do want our kids to be able to appropriately state their feelings and needs. Some of us adults weren’t taught to or allowed to do this, and this can help us too! The second thing to teach our kids during Children’s Awareness Month is to state their feelings and needs in a healthy way.
We’ve covered one way to do this above, by thinking through wants and needs. Once we’ve decided that we need something or that we need something to be known, it’s important to be able to say so.
Safe places to learn
Our homes should be the perfect safe places for our kids to learn how to state their needs. We start with politeness and manners with our littlest ones, right? Please and thank you continue to help us in adult conversation.
As our kids grow older, we are the people in place to help them learn how to rephrase what they have demanded. This helps them learn how to say what they need in a way that will be respected.
Be direct and clear
Another way we can teach our kids to state their needs is to teach them to be direct and clear. Our kids can tend to make a statement instead of requesting help. For example, the other day, my daughter said, “I’m so hungry!” And then she just stared at me. I waited a little, and then I said, “Hmm, were you meaning to ask for something?” She remembered what we’ve talked about, and she asked, “May I have a snack?”
We can also teach our kids how to communicate in a conflict with a sibling or a friend. Quite often, both sides of a conflict have a part to own in that conflict. Let’s teach our kids to take care of their part and apologize where needed. Along with that, we can show them how to see the other person’s side, and we can help them think about what they can compromise on and what they cannot compromise on. We can sometimes err too far on teaching our kids to say, “I’m sorry,” without recognizing that our child may have a legitimate point in the conflict. So let’s be willing to hear our child’s side of the situation, and let’s teach a balanced view of conflict management.
We can teach our kids to take initiative
The third thing to teach our kids during Children’s Awareness Month is to take initiative. Again, our homes are the perfect place to do this. It’s so important to teach our kids to care for their homes and their spaces without needing to be told. Basic chores and responsibilities, right?
The next step is to teach them to see a need, and then to help with that need. Kids need to learn to pitch in and help. So let’s allow our kids to do things at home that might not be done perfectly, but that really help them to learn to take action and help when they see a need. And let’s thank them for jumping in to help.
Signs to help
Here are some signs from our free Signing Time Dictionary that you can use as you teach your children to take initiative.
All of these little jobs can help our kids learn how to take responsibility and initiative in their own spaces, and then in their homes, and then in other places.
As they grow older, we can trust them with more responsibilities like yard chores or cooking jobs. And we keep letting them do things that take more responsibility as they grow even older.
When we trust our kids to do these kinds of things without expecting perfection, we help them learn. Of course, we can evaluate with them, but this would look more like asking them how it went rather than criticizing them for the imperfection.
As our kids continue doing their tasks with guidance from us instead of criticism, they will get better and better at them. This teaches them confidence to learn and grow, instead of fear of not being perfect right away. When we teach our kids to keep trying and we thank them for their efforts, we teach them that it’s OK to not master something immediately and to keep learning how to get better at it.
What a great skill for succeeding in the future! And this is what Children’s Awareness Month is all about.
My Signing Time Can Help
Over at My Signing Time, we have fun, educational programming that focuses on building up our children to communicate, learn, stay healthy, and develop good character. Check out our free to watch section, or try out a digital subscription with a 14-day free trial!