Raising children in today’s fast-changing world requires an arsenal of skills and techniques (and patience!). In addition to managing their time with digital devices, which have been shown to over-stimulate their formative minds to an unhealthy level, there are some other topics you should discuss with your little ones to create a solid foundation of communication and transparency.

Here are some of the more important topics that you can start communicating with your child and build a strong foundation from an early stage.

1. Disappointment and Failure

All of us are routinely made to experience disappointment and failure, despite our best efforts. Our children are not exempted from this either, as social interactions and responsibilities undoubtedly lead to disappointment and failure at one point or another.

While it may be tempting to act as an emotional umbrella for your child, shielding him from hurt or painful situations, it is important for parents to take the role of a guide instead of a ‘saviour’. It is impossible for parents to be present every time a child feels left out or falls short at a task, so the best course of action would be to equip your child with the necessary skill-set to manage setbacks.

The next time he comes home crying because the other kids would not let him play with them, you might ask “How did you feel when they wouldn’t let you join them?”. Follow that with a discussion on how your child would change the situation next time around.

Pro-tip: Avoid rejecting silly ideas or you will shut down his creative problem-solving ability! Instead, if your child has a possible solution that is unfeasible, say “Yes, that is definitely one option. What else could you do?”. Preschoolers may need to be prompted with questions like “Do you want to start your own game next time with some other friends?”

Self-compassion is an important trait to teach our children from a young age as well. Rather than rating their self-worth on categories such as academic success, appearance, or popularity, kids must value themselves solely for the fact that they are human beings and accept that failure is a part of the human experience.

Research has found that people who practice self-compassion recover more quickly from failure and are more likely to try new things - mainly because they know they won’t face a barrage of negative self-talk if they fail.

2. Sex and Their Changing Bodies

While talking about sexuality with a little one may seem like a daunting task, it is an important subject that is best discovered in the safety of the home. Everyday life provides lots of opportunities for talking about sexuality. When watching a TV show that shows a young person going through puberty or going out on a date, seeing an ad that prompts thoughts about body acceptance, or running into a pregnant neighbor, we can use that to initiate conversations with our children.

These teachable moments occur every day, and can help make the conversation easier and more natural.

In addition to talking discussing themes that your little one may be faced with in the future, it is important to teach them the value of respecting their privacy and that of others. Your child understands the occasional need for "private time," and he should know that he needs to knock before coming in when your door is closed. Be sure to follow the same rule yourself when your child has shut his door.

It's also a good idea to continue to emphasize to your grade-schooler that his private parts are private. It's not unusual — and not really erotic — for 6-year-olds to experiment by "playing doctor," so there's no need to scold your young grade-schooler if you catch him doing this.

But he can learn that no one else should touch him there but his parents or or the doctor, and that he should say "no" to anyone who tries to touch his private parts against his wishes.

3. Financial Planning

The first lesson kids must learn is that money has value, and when you spend it, it’s gone. When children are young, it is suggested to always use cash when you’re with them rather than credit or debit cards.

Cash is very visual, clear cut and not confusing; while credit sends a mixed message to kids. Otherwise, they might have trouble grasping the concept of spending and believe that a magic card gets you anything you want.

Saving habits can be inculcated more effectively if children can witness and observe the actual accumulation of their savings efforts. Some parents use a clear jar rather than a money box as a young child may feel that the money is "gone” if they cannot see it.

Another method of encouraging your child includes matching his or her savings amounts. So if your child saves 50 cents a day, you can encourage him or her by also contributing 50 cents to his or savings. Besides serving as a reward for the child’s efforts, it can also help reinforce the saving habit and spur him or her on to save for future financial goals

As the child becomes more proficient in saving in one jar or money box, parents may introduce four objectives to convey the importance of saving for different purposes. The child may distribute his savings across four different money boxes. Namely:

  1. a spending bank for money to be used soon,

  2. a saving bank for money to be used later,

  3. an investment bank for money to grow on its own (take the opportunity to open a bank account for your child, update the passbook and teach your child about interest, deposits and loans)

  4. bank for donations to help others.

The practice of “save some, invest some, share some and spend some” not only provides children with opportunities to develop good money habits, but also teaches them to look beyond their own needs and care for the less fortunate.

These topics are all important lessons that help equip our children with a skill-set to overcome challenges and provide them with a constructive mindset to face and solve the problems they may encounter. Visit our website to find out how else you and your child can can prepare for some of the large expenses that lie ahead with careful planning and systematic investments.   

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