While shopping, your first grader asks if they can buy candy. You explain that it’s too close to dinner time and it’s not the right time for candy. Your child says: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” This is something most parents have heard before.
How do children define “fairness”? Children tend to define what is “fair” according to what they want and need. That want and need is usually in the moment, not something which has been thought through over time. Though tempting at the time, parents should not allow their child’s definition of fairness to overcome their better judgment. There are some rules families can establish that will allow a child to better understand the concept of fairness. Parents should talk to their child about these guidelines and set good examples. While teaching about fairness, it is important to always listen to why they feel something is fair or unfair. By listening, you can better address each specific instance properly – sometimes your child’s situation may indeed be unfair!
Here are some great principles of fairness that you can share with your child:
- Play by the rules
- Teach your children this principle while playing a board game with your family! It is an easy way to teach the importance of playing by the rules, as board games already come with a written set of rules to follow.
- Take turns and share
- Your child can learn to take turns and share when they are playing with their siblings or friends. When they share and wait their turn, it instills patience and helps to build friendships. After all, “sharing is caring.”
- Listen to others
- Listening is a very important fairness skill that will help children in all aspects of life. Listening to both sides of a discussion or in a situation or conflict supports fairness. One must know and understand both sides of a point in order to make a well-informed and fair decision.
Contributed by Natasha, Fairmont Private Schools
Image from Child Parenting