Integrity is widely considered a positive attribute in adults. But how do we nurture it in children? Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and fair.” These are certainly essential character traits for success in school, work, and life that can be developed in children starting at a young age by modeling.
“At Primrose Schools of Lantana, we understand that children under the age of 3 may not always comprehend an abstract concept like integrity. But by modeling consistent trustful behavior, we help them build the foundation for later understanding,” says Erin Lundie, M.Ed., owner of the Primrose School of Lantana.
Primrose Schools takes modeling integrity to the next level by engaging children in lessons and activities focused on keeping promises. By encouraging children to keep their promises, a pattern of behavior forms that leads to reliability and personal integrity.
The following at-home tips can help your children learn the importance of keeping their commitments:
Set a good example. Demonstrate to your children that you keep your word. When your children ask you to do something that you may not be able to do, respond with “we’ll see” or “maybe” rather than making an empty promise. By following through on the promises you make, your children will learn to do the same.
Set expectations and stick to them. It may be that your children must clean up their toys when they are finished playing, or that they must feed the family pet every morning. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility to fulfill their commitments. Set simple goals so that they will be successful.
Recognize when promises are kept. Make it a point to notice and recognize when your children and those around you follow through on a promise. “I know Grandma is so happy that we came to visit her last Sunday, just like we promised.” Or, “Look at your clean room! I’m glad I can count on you to do what you say.” This will help your children learn the concept of keeping promises and why it is so important.
Finding opportunities to discuss the importance of keeping commitments with children, like reading books, can also help. Many children’s books include the theme of keeping promises. Here are some titles to read with your little ones to get them thinking and talking about commitment – an important first step to developing integrity.
- Let’s Be Helpful (Ages 0-3) by P.K. Hallinan
- Richard Scarry’s Busiest People Ever by Richard Scarry (Ages 0-3)
- The Runaway Bunny (Ages 0-4) by Margaret Wise Brown
- How do Dinosaurs Clean their Rooms? by Jane Yolen (Ages 2+)
- Tadpole’s Promise (Ages 3+) by Jeanne Willis
- I Promise I’ll Find You (Ages 4-8) by Heather Ward
Primrose Schools is The Leader in Early Education and Care® with high-quality, accredited preschools across the country. We serve children, parents, and local communities with a purposeful, balanced approach to nurturing Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®. To learn about Primrose School of Lantana, visit the following:
photos courtesy of Primrose Schools