Recommended age: 6-12
For: Individuals or groups
Requires: Parent or professional to facilitate
Includes: Two PDF worksheets (Download here or at the end of the post)
Will enhance social and emotional skills:
Self Awareness: Identify own beliefs and values
Social Awareness: Respect for others
Responsible decision-making skills
Are you looking for a simple activity for your child to identify their values that is fun and engaging?
Or maybe you are wondering, why it is important for children to understand their values?
I am happy to finally share my values activity that I developed for my psychotherapy practice.
It has been field tested and revised several times with valuable feedback from my children clients. And it is now ready to be shared with you!
But first, what are values?
Personal values are what we find important in life. They are personal (e.g. health, knowledge, independence), social (respect, honesty), relationships (friendship, family), and materials (money, toys).
Values are like guidance markers for our belief system. They tell us what is important and in the order of priority. Ultimately, values impact how to we make decisions, think and act.
Values begin to develop in early childhood. And over time, it will evolve and refine through life experiences and relationships.
If a child has a lot of positive experiences of academic success in school, then they may find academics to be important to them.
Or if a child experiences a lot of negative consequences for being honest, then they may find honesty is less important.
Values are dynamic and never stops changing. They generally change slowly, bit by bit, compounded through life experiences. But it is also possible to change suddenly over night - usually through a significant or traumatic experience.
Since values begin to emerge early in life, children are already able to identify and understand them.
Why is it important for children to understand their values?
Simply, if children are consciously aware of what is important to them, they are better able to understand how to make decisions and understand what drives their behaviors.
For example, if a child values friendships more than honesty, and they are in a situation where they have to compromise honesty to preserve a friendship, then they may be more likely to compromise honesty.
And if they understand their values, they are more likely to live by them or actively refine them to better navigate through the intricacies of life!
Every child has their own set of values and it shouldn't be perceived as right or wrong, but rather a reflection of what they believe in, in the present day.
The Personal Values Activity
The activity is for home use or professionally in the classroom, counseling or psychotherapy sessions. It can be used for an individual child or with a group of children. The activity includes two pages in PDF format. The first page includes contains 21 value items and the second page are discussion questions.
The activity requires an adult facilitator and not recommended to have children work on their own. The adult facilitator can provide clarification to unfamiliar terms and ask follow up questions to help with children's thought process.
The main purposes of the activity are:
To help children identify and understand their values.
Inform the parents or professionals of the child's values.
The activity is structured for direct reflection and discussion of values using language children can understand.