Home support Explain and convey values ​​to children

Explain and convey values ​​to children

by ines.wurbs@icloud.com

Children need more than just knowledge and skills. Our society and children are shaped by values. But what are these values, and how do we make sure our children understand and internalize them?

The best way to teach values to our children is to:

  • Our role model function
  • limits and rules
  • actions
  • criticism
  • acceptance
  • (Basic) trust
  • friends
  • puberty
  • media

You can find out more details about how to explain values to your child here.

What are values?

I want to define values before we talk about them. The dictionary says values are deep and meaningful beliefs, attitudes, and ideals shared by the society in which we live.

We usually classify them as good or bad. Values help us understand the world around us more easily and quickly. They form a person’s identity, character, and culture.

What are important society’s values?

There are numerous values in our society. The most important and most common ones are listed here:

• Security
• Love
• Family
• Fun
• Responsibility
• respect
• Friendship
• Makes
• Health
• Freedom
• Training
• Partnership
• Intimacy
• Success
• Charity
• Order
• Self-determination
• intimacy
• Honesty
• Prosperity
• Happiness
• Tolerance
• Justice
• Reliability
• Harmony
• Peace
Values overview

Here you can see the results of the European Values ​​Study (EVS):

Central areas of life

Friends and work have followed the family over the years. In the last twenty years, there has been a change from the importance of work to the importance of friends. Leisure time is also gaining increasing importance. Values that fit into these areas are becoming more important. Religion and politics, on the other hand, tend to remain the same.

What values ​​do children need? A list

There is a lot of research on values. After studying various studies, I found that the following things help children grow and build relationships:

These values give our children the support and security they need to find their way around in our society. There are more information, tips, and tricks in the linked posts.

How do children learn values?

Children are not born with values. However, they are born into a world full of values. We, as parents, friends, and everyone around him, live his values and pass them on to our children.

Our role model function

Most importantly, we parents have a strong influence on our children. We spend a lot of time together, and they have a lot of time watching us. We are important caregivers for our children.

That is the reason our children watch us closely and imitate our behavior. In this way, our children are introduced to our values. But also those of all other persons involved. 

Limits and rules

Boundaries and rules also help our children develop values. Rules and boundaries give our children the framework we use to set guidelines. As a result, our children are very aware of what is acceptable and what is not. What we consider to be good or bad.

Children still tend to think in simple terms, with no shades of gray. Therefore, this allocation impacts them even more than it does us adults.

To set boundaries without hurting our kids, I have a separate article for you here.


We learn the most by doing things. Our children also learn through doing things themselves. Good and bad. They also adopt values and assign them as good or bad depending on their experience and the prevailing social norms.

For example, if children learn that honesty pays off, they will be more likely to be honest. But the same thing goes for lies, for example. The sum of our experiences determines what values we internalize and live by as satisfying and rewarding.

Experiences are not passed on – everyone has to make them on their own.Kurt Tucholsky


We need to teach our children to think about their experiences and values. We do this by always asking how our children felt about this or that situation. What was beneficial for you and what would you like to alter?

They learn to evaluate and question situations of themselves. Your own point of view and that of others should be discussed. These can have a significant impact on decisions and actions.

This is, of course, still too difficult for small children. The point of view of others can be understood by our children from the age of 6. We must teach our children to question their values and adopt those that they have chosen for themselves.

I like to use social stories in my work and in private. Cards with different situations to discuss the viewpoints of others, emotions, and possible solutions with children. This shows the situation for our children and makes them practice. 


Our children are taught values through acceptance. It’s easier for them to question their own point of view if they can accept other points of view.

(Basic) trust

Basic trust is formed in early childhood and is primarily created through close and familiar relationships with us and our children. It provides them with the security they need to develop.

The closer the relationship between parents and children, the more likely it is that they will share the same values and ideals. In all social relationships, trust creates a level in which we exchange ideas and respect each other.

That is the reason why we and our children find it easier to understand the values and points of view of other people.


As our children get older, friends become more important in their lives. Gradually, friends are becoming so important in our children’s lives that they, too, are becoming their closest confidants and attachment figures. True friendships are forged. That is why friends also have a significant influence on our children’s values.


The first personal critical confrontation with values occurs during the youthful rebellion of puberty. It is exhausting for us parents, but it is important for our teenagers.

They separate themselves from their parents and therefore also question our values. They are no longer simply accepting our values but are questioning them and dealing with alternatives during this time.

What else is there, and maybe it suits me better? By going through this, our children get more experiences and learn more about the values that fit their identity.


Whether we want to admit it or not, the media influences us and our children. Mostly unconsciously and spontaneously. Films, series, and co. influence our worldview and push their way into the value distortions of our society.

That is why it is important to teach our children from the very beginning to question themselves and others and not to take values for granted.

What are values ​​and norms? A children’s explanation

If we explain values and norms to our children based on our rules, they will understand them. We should teach them that values are what, we think, is good, what we do and how we behave toward others.

Values help us meet our needs. The needs can be ours, as well as the needs of others. However, the concept of need is often difficult for our children to grasp. That’s why I didn’t mention it in the explanation. Use words and examples your children already know.

For example, you could tell your child something like this:

Values explained in a way children can understand

“Values are the guidelines and rules that we follow. Voluntarily and on our own. We should do things that are good for us and others.

For example, your teacher will be happy if you say “hi” to her politely. You don’t have to, but it’s polite to her, and she probably appreciates that. She is likely to respond politely as well. You have a good start.

Another example, if something broke in the room, and you’re telling the truth about how it happened. It’s not a must, but this way I can rely on what you say. You may have a guilty conscience if you don’t tell the truth, and I may eventually realize that you lied.

Prudence, but also trust, being honest, showing respect, being fair or that family and friends are important to you are examples of values.

If you don’t like something, like how someone treats you, or if you feel bad about how you treat someone, it’s probably against your beliefs. You are not okay with what someone did to you or said to you, and you are not feeling well about it.

Not everyone has the same values, i.e. guidelines that are important and correct for them. It isn’t equally important for everyone. That does not mean it is bad. Everyone is capable of making their own decisions. Of course, as long as it complies with the law and doesn’t cross anyone’s boundaries.

Teaching values at kindergarten, crèche or school

Outside of the family, kindergarten, crèche or school are places where our children get to know and learn many values. Teachers and peers both have an influence on a child.

They bring their own values from home to the facility. But of course, there are also values that are conveyed by the educational institution and its own rules. For example, being on time, being helpful and being fair.

If the values in kindergarten, crèche or school differ greatly from your own, you should try to get parents and teachers to work together and find ways to incorporate both.

It’s not a problem for children if the values aren’t exactly the same. Since these values are not the same anyway, they also depend somewhat on the child’s role in the group.

Of course there should be communication between parents and teachers. Changing institutions or teachers is a possibility if values are very conflicting.

I am not for change, but I think it’s important to accept the values of others. It depends on how values affect the children and how they are able to deal with it. It is, of course, also possible to consider educational institutions where the values are more compatible.

You may also like