As a nanny, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the children you care for. You can act as an inspiration, example and a mentor for the kids, so they can learn important virtues. There are six main pillars of character– trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. You can engage in different activities with the kids that will teach and test them in these areas.
Provide anecdotes for each virtue-related activity, so the story can serve as an example and help to further understand why these are important values. Here are some of the ways you can instill the six pillars of character:
Trust is a vital foundation for every relationship. Explain that the child will receive more freedom and will be considered more mature in relation with their level of trustworthiness.
For older kids who receive homework, provide them with an initial independent studying time. Explain that this time can be used for organization of assignments and be clear that you expect a certain volume of homework finished by the time you check in with them. Leave the room and return at the agreed time and check whether or not they’ve completed their work. If they’ve engaged in other activities and distracted themselves, explain they must now be monitored for assurance that the homework is properly completed.
If you work with smaller children, play a board game with them and then leave the room. If the pieces on the board have moved, point this out to the children and ask why or how it happened. Read a story about honesty and trust to further illustrate your point.
Respect is seen in many forms — respect of the environment, respect of others and respect of yourself. Teach kids how they can respect the environment and create a compost bin at home. Explain how landfills overflow with trash and how their contents can be reduced through recycling and composting.
Teach the kids about respect for others and take them into a restaurant. Have them order for themselves and remember to say please and thank you to the server.
Explain the importance of self respect and create a list where they add a characteristic they like about themselves every day. They will gain a greater appreciation for their own self and through that positive reinforcement, they’ll have a solid foundation for self respect.
Responsibility teaches kids how they can muster willpower and why it is important to do tasks properly. Chores are an excellent introduction for the foundation of responsible behavior. Create a weekly chore list and post it in a visible area. Establish the expectation that the child must remember their chores and complete them.
For older children, teach them about how safety relates to responsibility. Introduce them to airsoft guns and have them practice at a target range. There are many safety precautions that must be upheld, which they will be responsible for carrying out.
Explain that everyone must be treated equally — no one is more important than anyone else. Play a game together in which the kids can earn a prize, like 12 pieces of candy. Have one of the children divide the prize amongst all the players and make sure everyone receives the same amount. You can also put a child in charge of dishing up dessert and make sure he doles out the same amount for each person.
Caring and kindness reduces the negativity that is spread throughout school, the workplace or your personal life. Talk with the children about helping others and set up a time, every week, where you can volunteer within the community together. You can also utilize the Charity Miles app, where you and the child can take daily strolls and rack up points. The points turn into money that you can give to a charity that you choose together.
Children should understand at an early age that they are a citizen of their community, country and the world. Visit a variety of museums to help children see how people from all time periods and all parts of the world have contributed to civilization. Both art museums and natural history museums will provide children with enhanced worldly knowledge and instill the idea of citizenship.