Most children do not begin to grasp the concept of morals until the age of around 5 or 6. For some it’s a bit later. The idea that there’s a wrong and a right is somewhat fuzzy in pre-schooler’s minds. Toddlers may know that it’s wrong to steal or bite for example, but many lack the impulse control to avoid it.

Working with your children on moral values is a great idea no matter what their age. Discussing the implications of moral values will enable them to make good decisions as they navigate their time through school. Taking time out to listen to smaller children is important, as this primary school in Gerrards Cross says. Knowing they are heard helps children to grow in confidence.

As your child grows, they will be faced with moral decisions and need to develop the skills to make the right choices. Here are some which a pre-schooler might have to work out for themselves.

  • Do I have to share?
  • Shall I take that toy because I want it even though my brother is playing with it?
  • Shall I push into the queue?
  • Shall I take a sweet even though Mummy said not to?

Tiny decisions of course but to a small child, they’re quite big.


Talk about feelings and about right and wrong

Discussions with your child about their feelings and how they manage them will help them when they come to the hurdles they will inevitably face. A good time to discuss these things is straight after a child has made a bad choice. Don’t get cross – ask them how they feel about what happened and ask them what a better choice might have been. Make sure they understand why one choice is right and the other wrong.

Read stories together

There are many wonderful stories which incorporate morality. Here’s a few suggestions. Children often adore these stories because they recognise that justice has prevailed, and it helps them feel secure in the world:

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Midas Touch

The Tortoise and the Hare

Older children

Older children recognise that sometimes there are grey areas when it comes to morality. They may like to discuss these with you and talking through complex ideas like this can help adolescents in many ways. Not only will they learn debating skills, but they’ll also develop more awareness of the complexity of the world.

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