Teach Children the Value of Things, Not the Price
Teach children to be happy, not to be rich. Make them understand that the value of a person is not found in what they have or don’t have on the outside, but what they have on the inside. Teach them to develop good strategies and skills that help them understand who they are in the world.
This education on values and emotions will be the foundation of their success as people and as a future society. If a child knows how to set limits, manage extremes, and respect themselves, they’ll know to do the same with others.
If we want a harvest, we have to plant the seeds on time and try to avoid making mistakes by trying to grant value or prominence to something without first enforcing morally sound principles. In that sense, we can take advantage of their lack of knowledge and not damage their innocence. For example, for a child who can’t comprehend money management, a small coin has more value than a bill. Why? Because they think coins are fun; they can jingle them, roll them, pretend to buy things with them, etc.
Children are happy with anything that brings them affection, fun, and support. It’s adults who teach them that value lies in price and not intentions, possibilities, or affection. Obviously we usually do it without meaning to, simply by giving more importance or relevance to the things we judge as more powerful, beautiful, or fun.
Ultimately, the goal is that the child understands that people are the protagonists of their own lives, not their belongings. In the same way, they should understand that the important thing behind everything they have is intention and effort. In order to achieve this, we have to make them understand what effort and good intentions are, and above all, what we feel.
Happiness has little to do with material things
It’s difficult to not make mistakes along the way when money makes the world go round. However, we should proceed on the basis that we all want them to be happy above all else, which is a big advantage when it comes to emotional education and values.
Because true happiness is achieved through affection, shared experiences, love, and understanding, it’s essential that we help our children to give everything of themselves so that they understand that the reward is on the inside.
Here are a few simple ideas to encourage learning value at a young age:
1. Prepare a box of street treasures.
Encourage your child to keep a box full of things that stand out to them when the pass through streets, parks, or the woods. The idea is that they can have a place where they can collect those sticks, stones, pine cones, and pieces of plastic that catch their attention and attract them.
This will help them not only at the sensory level, but also at the cognitive level. You can make crafts, make up stories, invent games, etc. They’re luxuries that are within reach.
2. When you give them a gift, make sure it’s handmade.
We’re so used to going to the store to buy whatever we want that we don’t even need to send postcards or birthday cards anymore. Arts and crafts help us to move past our materialistic tendencies, always rewarding effort through gratitude and happiness.
3. Personalize your things.
Creating a personal stamp will make it so that everything is unique and irreplaceable. That is, if they break a toy, the thing that replaces it could never mean the same thing.
Keys to instilling the value of effort
- The child should “earn” prizes. It’s not enough to buy just to buy, or give just to give, just because you love them, because they ask for it, or because you feel like it. Everything should have a positive meaning beyond the material.
- Lead by example. If children see that you put forth effort and you value the things that deserve it, they’ll see it as something positive and they’ll do it more easily.
- Make them feel good and reward their effort. Incentivize their perseverance and give importance to every little achievement. We should emphasize every little decision that takes them a lot of effort.
- Every day, point out the situations that make this concept clearer. Simplify values to them as protagonists whenever you can, because feeling identified with and involved in those values will help them to transfer that learning to themselves.
- It’s always good to incorporate stories, as they’re very useful tools when it comes to implementing values since it makes them reflect and apply those feelings to themselves and the real world.
Remember that if we’re not happy with what we have, we won’t be happy with what we need, either. The true value and the best reward comes from our essence and is guarded in the cupboard of our hearts.