Teaching Children About Citizenship

Image of Cindy the Citizen Crab

For young children, being a good citizen means trying to:

  • Cooperate.
  • Obey rules.
  • Respect people in charge.
  • Not litter.

Being a good citizen is something adults may do every day. Adults might practice good citizenship by: obeying traffic laws, paying taxes, helping a neighbor, volunteering or recycling. Parents are the most important teacher a child will ever have. Your child will develop good citizenship habits by following your good citizenship practices.

You can begin raising your child to be a citizen by making her a member of the community. Taking your baby to the store, the park or a neighbor's house introduces your child to a world much larger than your house. These early experiences in the community will be important in your child's later life. A child who feels connected to the outside world through exposure to it will want to be an active member of the outside world.

Begin teaching your child connections between the members of the community and your daily life. You can do this by explaining a little bit about various things you see on your outings in the neighborhood. When you see the police car drive by, explain that the police officer helps keep us safe. When you stop at a traffic light, explain that you stop to allow the other cars to go. You might even say you are following the rules. Your toddler may not understand all that you explain to him but, the more you talk about the community, the more he will understand, and the more he will want to be a member of the community.

Before a child can be a citizen of the community, she must be a citizen in her home. Children who learn to get along with their families will be able to learn to get along in their communities. One way to help your preschool child become a good citizen is by teaching her not to litter. You can also help your children learn to keep the city or town clean by going on litter walks to pick up trash.

3/15/2005 4:15:41 AM
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