“Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need .”
~ Rick Riordan, The Red Pyramid
If there was ever a time to talk about “life not being fair,” I’d say just take a look at how 2020 has been going. Life is full of tough moments. Disabilities, inequalities, injusties and struggles are a part of life and eventually, children start to learn what we adults all know: that life isn’t always fair. It’s important to teach our children about these tougher topics. Today, we’re sharing tools to address the concept of FAIRNESS.
In a recent study overseen by Harvard University, children from seven societies, from small villages to large industrialized cities, were tested with a concept of accepting or rejecting Skittle candies. The results indicated that the children tended to reject the candies when they got less than their peers. That was expected, as there has been some evidence that the psychology of this feeling may have evolutionary roots.
The bad news? It may be in our genes to naturally not “think fairly.” The good news? As parents, we actually have the ability and tools to teach the concept of FAIRNESS to our children. Let’s dig in!
BOOKS TO THE RESCUE
- The concept of fairness can be a tricky one to try to explain on your own. It’s a pretty sophisticated concept for a child! In this video, Maria shares ways to utilize picture books to really explain the concept as you read along.
- Need some book recommendations? We’ve got you covered! Here are some great books we have found to teach fairness.
FREEBIE ALERT: With many kids home this fall, and lots of moving parts to our weeks, we’re offering you a FREE Download our FAMILY MEETING AGENDA template! Goal-setting, chores, important topics to discuss? We’ll help you stay organized when you bring the gang together.
FAIR VS. EQUAL
- Try using this verbiage with children: “Fair is when everyone gets what they need, and equal is when everyone gets the same exact thing.”
- In this YouTube video, Maria shares a great way to explain the difference between fair and equal in this video with a family activity. All you need are a few sticky bandages to begin.
EASY DAILY REMINDERS
- Model the rules. Older children can especially help out a younger sibling with this. Share the rules of a game up front, honor them and encourage others, even if the outcome isn’t in your favor.
- Use tangible examples: Some children wear glasses and some don’t. That’s not equal, but it’s fair because not everyone needs glasses to see and learn best.
- Some children may receive a different lunch in school because they have food allergies. That’s not equal, but it’s fair. It’s what that child needs to be healthy and safe.
- As always, praise fairness when you see it at home – the BEST way for a child to remember their behavior.
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Sarah Cavanaugh is a Marketing, PR and Communications Specialist with over 25 years of experience writing, building effective marketing campaigns, and creating brand awareness. Sarah can usually be found walking her neighborhood, drinking coffee and watching Saturday Night Live skits on YouTube. She lives with her two active teens and husband in Grand Rapids. Find her at www.CavanaughCommunications.com.