What Do You Value

In this crazy, hectic world, values still matter. What values matter most to you? Which values do you want to give your children?

Kids are not born with a deep desire to be kind, thankful, generous or honest. Being moral, honorable or spiritual is not on their “to-do” list either. Left on their own, children will develop morals that reflect the world around them. Do you really want cartoons and reality shows teaching your children values?

Strong, effective parents know what they value. A good first step is to identify the most important values you want your children to have. Honest conversations between parents about values can align parental practices and help resolve future tension. Recording your values on paper can keep you focused.

Parents are often overwhelmed with choices. What is worthy of your time and attention each day? Knowing the values you want to transmit to your children can guide your words and actions. Children learn values from you.

The best time to transmit values to your children is now. Children of all ages—even infants— are watching and learning. Transferring values to a young child is easier than backtracking later in life. Looking for daily opportunities to transfer your values?

Value transfer opportunity No. 1: The family dinner table

Your family at the dinner table might look different than other peoples’ families. You may unwrap rather than roast your food. Your family may wear PJs rather than shirts with ties. And there may be only one parent at the table. No matter. Family mealtimes are still an influential place to teach values. Here is a sample of values you can teach at the family table:

  • Do you want your children to be happy? Talk about the miracles of life that made you happy that day, like seeing your child’s smile, feeling proud of their sweet words, or watching them help each other.
  • Do you want your child to be gracious and kind? Praise your children for what they do right and encourage them when they are struggling.
  • Do you want your child to be respectful? Listen intently to what your children say. Look them in the eyes. Be fully present.

Value transfer opportunity No. 2: Family walks

It is easy to feel out of touch with your family, even when they are in the same room. A slow walk can help you reconnect—and transfer values. Make it a weekly or daily tradition. Try these conversation starters to tap into value topics:

  • What did you do today to be kind?
  • Who did you help today?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What made you happy today?
  • Who did you share with today?
  • How did you feel when you saw your friend sad? What did you say or do?

Value transfer opportunity No. 3: Use positive labels

Children live up to the labels used to describe them. If you call children difficult, stubborn, strong willed, picky, crabby or difficult, chances are that is what they will become. If you call them sweet, kind, happy, brave, nice, smart or interesting, odds are they will live up to the words you used to describe them. Parents who actively look for the best in their children—and celebrate those traits with their children using positive labels—become champions for good behavior and positive values.

What will you do this week to help your children develop the values that are important to you?

  • Have family dinners and catch each person in the act of being amazing
  • Take a slow family walk to reconnect
  • Use positive labels when talking to my children Success reminders. Make a list of positive words that could apply to your children. Post words on the refrigerator or mirror to keep them front and center. Set a goal of saying five positive things to each of your children each day—and check their reaction and behavior. See any changes?
  • Pick a different topic for your slow family walks. Here are some to get you started: Sunsets, animal sounds, hopes and dreams, proud moments, ways your children sparkle or funny stories.
  • Focusing on who is not at family meals is easy to do—but it is better to see the beauty of those who are there. Celebrate the precious people who are in your life.
  • Family meals are not about the table. Throw a blanket on the floor and have a family picnic. Eat outside. Eat in the car. Family meals are about love, not tables.
  • When you celebrate the miracles of life, remember to celebrate you. To your children, you are a great miracle who loves and treasures them.

Be a super mom and join the MomCircle app!

MomCircle was created for parents like you who want to be the best version of themselves for their children. Download the MomCircle app for 24/7 access to inspiring and informative content that supports the great mom that you are.