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Character Does Not Co_nt Without U: November 2022

Monday, Oct 31, 2022

“Fair does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.”

Fairness, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is “marked by impartiality and honesty; conforming with the established rules.” As a concept, fairness is especially challenging for young children to understand. With other traits, like kindness or responsibility, there are concrete actions to observe which may provide a basic understanding of the concept itself. However, fairness is found in the way we treat one another, the way in which we play a game, the way in which live life, etc. So how do we teach fairness to young children?

  1. Practice Turn-taking -  This is a good starting point for the especially young. Through playing games like peek-a-boo and building with blocks (you lay one, I lay one), parents are able to provide a basic understanding of taking turns which is an element of fairness . For older children, use games as an opportunity to model and explain why we play by a given set of rules, how we take turns, and how we encourage one another even when we are unhappy with an outcome.
  2. Notice Fair and Unfair -  Draw attention to behaviors in books, movies, and in life when others are acting in a fair or unfair manner.  Ask your child questions like “What is another way he could have acted to make things fair?” or “How did she show fairness to the other person?”
  3. Praise Fairness -  Take a moment to recognize and verbalize when your child is acting out of fairness. Helping him to notice fairness in his own behaviors will help him to grow in his understanding of the concept.

Fairness may not be taught as easily as other character traits, but with consistency, children will recognize fairness and act fairly towards others.

Published on Monday, July 31st, 2017. Published by Susan Brunk, M.A., Associate Director of Curriculum at the Stepping Stone School. https://www.steppingstoneschool.com/four-ways-teach-young-children-fairness/