12 Things You Can Teach Your Child Before He Turns 10

As a parent, it is your job to bring up a child who is well-rounded, well-mannered and has healthy habits. But a lot of parents tend to ignore teaching their children anything because they think the child is too young to learn anything, while others believe that there is a lot of time to teach new skills later. But you have to see that your child is at his most impressionable age when he is 10 years old or under, and this is when you have to give him basic lessons that will last him all his life. Here’s a list of some of the things you can teach your child before he turns 10. 

1. Basic hygiene. 

Your child needs to learn hygiene from you. Teach him to brush two times a day, wash his hands and feet after getting back home from outside and after using the bathroom. You should teach him to clean different parts of the body and then let him practice it. You have to do all these things for him in the first few years, but then he will start seeing these as routine and start doing them himself. Also, it is important that you do these things too so he learns from you by example. 

2. Basic manners and etiquettes

Your child should be used to saying “Please”, “thank you” and “sorry” by the time he is ten years old. Teach him to close his mouth when he eats and excuse himself when he needs to leave the room. Tell him that he cannot put his feet up on the table. Again, as with basic hygiene lessons, you need to lead by example here. 

3. Posture

Posture is something that will stay with your child all his life, and have a major influence on him. Don’t let him slump or slouch when he sits. Make him walk upright. Don’t let him sit on a sofa/chair with his feet up either on the sofa/chair or on a table in front. For your daughter, teach her to sit on a chair with her knees and ankles together. The better posture you teach now, the better it is for their later life. 

4. Respect

Respect is one of the most basic lessons you should give your child. This means you have to teach him how to talk to others, elders, juniors or even friends. Be very careful about what your child is exposed to - do not use language at home that you wouldn’t want him to pick up from you. Be careful about his TV exposure. Understand that he will still pick up some words from friends in school or at the park. SIt him down and tell him that it is unacceptable to use such words because they are not nice. Also understand that it is your job to bring up a child who is not a loud-mouthed, abrasive adult in the future. 

5. Sharing

Whether your child has a sibling or not, he has to learn how to share. Every child may have one toy that is so precious to them that they don’t want to let anyone else touch it, and you can make an exception or two. But overall, teach him to share a bar of chocolate, a packet of chips or anything else. Do it yourself with him. Offer him a cookie when you are having it and then break off a piece if he says yes. Teaching him to offer and share will go a long way when he grows up. 

6. Communication

There is a two-fold benefit of teaching your child to communicate. One, he does not keep secrets from you so you are aware of anything that’s happening in his life when he is at school. Given the current world we live in, this is very important. Tell him that no matter what anyone tells them, they must share all secrets with you. Give him examples. Share a little snippet of your life with him. It could be something imaginary or insignificant like “I ate an extra cookie today,” or “Daddy told me not to tell you, but he and I had no sugar in our tea today,” to show him that even when someone tells you to keep a secret, you still share it with him. Sexual predators often tell children that the assault is “their little secret” - prevent this by making it clear that between your child and you, there are no secrets. 

The other benefit of teaching how to communicate is, he will learn to tell you the truth. Don’t scold him if he has broken a glass and comes to tell you. Be nice, so he will not shy away from talking again. A child who can communicate from a young age turns out to be an excellent speaker at a later age, a skill that will help him immensely in his professional life. 

7. Politeness

It is not just manners, politeness also means a lot of other things. Teach your child that it is not polite to make fun of another child. Children can be extremely cruel because they don’t realise what they are doing to another child. But a lot of this comes from peer pressure. Teach your child to stand up for himself and not be mean to someone only because his friends are doing that. Teach them that it is not polite to hit or laugh at someone. They should know that being rude is not appreciated. 

8. The importance of time

Your baby needs to know that he has to do certain things at a certain time. He needs to know that bedtime has to be at a certain hour. Occasional lapses are fine, but overall, time must be respected. He should know that, say, he has to take a bath between 11 am and 12 noon. He cannot defer it to 3 pm. Show him that he cannot keep people waiting. 

9. Independence

Your child, as soon as he is ready to do some things, should do them on his own. If he has learned to read the time, encourage him to do it. If he has learned to tie his shoe lace, don’t do it for him. Teach him to put away his toys and books and make sure he does it on his own. Teach him to clean his bed before he sleeps and fluff his pillow. He may not learn all of it at one go, but over time, you will be bringing up a boy who will find his own footing in a new city or at his college hostel. 

10. Ask Questions

Encourage your child to ask questions. If he does not understand something, he should be able to ask questions about it without feeling stupid or being told to shut up. Answer his questions, so he does not feel that asking questions is a bad idea. If there is something you can’t explain, tell them the basics and that you will talk about it again when he is slightly older. 

11. When a no means no

Your child is after all a baby. He will be very persistent about some things and may even throw a tantrum. But if you have said no once, make it stick. Don’t give in, or don’t say yes if your partner has said no to something. That will only teach your child that he can get his way if he goes to the other parent or throws a tantrum. If he understands that a no means a no, it will help him understand the concept of consent in later life or in school too. 

12. Cleanliness

No, not just personal cleanliness. Your child must learn the value of keeping his surroundings clean. A toffee wrapper goes into the dustbin, or if there isn’t a dustbin immediately around, into his pocket for putting in a dustbin later. A toffee wrapper never ever goes on the road. An empty pack of juice also goes in the dustbin, and does not stay put on the table. Empty plates go in the sink, and don’t stay on the dining table. This is a very easy thing to teach, yet most parents think their children are too young for this, or that servants will take care of it. And as a result, the litter around us keeps growing. 

Your child may seem like a baby to you who may not be handle a lot of things, but he is growing up. These things are extremely simple and they don’t require a lot of effort to teach or learn. Start today, and be the proud parent of a baby who is much better turned out than most babies around him. 

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