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As a mom of four children, I want my children to know several life skills. One of those major skills I want them to learn is kindness. Kindness can make a world of difference, with very little effort. Having two children with autism, my children have seen first hand how far a kind statement can go. (As well as how far an unkind one can go too!)
Teaching your children kindness is such an important step to raising up awesome human beings. Our friend Jenn Morrison share with us her four tops for teaching your kids kindness! Read on to find out more!
How to Teach Your Kids Kindness
by Jenn Morrison
It is a generally accepted idea that the world would be a better place if people were kinder to each other. If all parents raised their children to be kind, the new generation would be the kindest generation yet. Connecting with your child and raising a kind child means that you have to take the opportunity to shape your child as they grow. Every parent’s concern is their child’s future. Having a kind child will result in having a kind adult which will make the world a better place. Through teaching kindness, parents can help stomp out hate and bullying.
Teaching kindness to your child can feel intimidating; however, it can be quite simple. Use real life opportunities to teach and show kindness. Using everyday situations to encourage kindness will give your child an opportunity to strengthen this skill. For example, encouraging them to help their sibling with homework or sit with a new student at lunch will give them real life examples of how to be kind. Next, you want to make sure your kids are confident so that they are not afraid to share their kindness to the world.
Kind children grow and develop into kind adults who make the world a better place. Teaching your children kindness may be challenging, but here are 4 tips to help you along the way:
- Lead by Example
Children learn best when they are given examples and real life situations. By being kind yourself, you are not only leading by example but you are also showing them how exactly to be kind. Maybe this is always saying “thank you” and “please” or this might be maintaining your composure when you’re angry with a customer service representative. Leading by example shows your child exactly what you expect of them and it teaches them how to be kind. Helping someone push a broke down car or giving your seat up on the bus shows your children kindness applies to all situations and it also shows that being kind is easy and natural.
- Teach them Empathy
One important thing to teach a child is empathy. This can be easy to teach as your child will run into a lot of situations with their friends or at school where empathy can be helpful to them. If something happens to another child, ask them how they would feel if it had happened to them. Talk about the feelings involved and how they can help the situation.
Maybe a child was bullied, but your child can sit with them at lunch time.
Your child may witness another child fall. Instead of laughing at them like the other children, they may be inspired to help the child up.
- Give Them Opportunities to be Kind
An elderly neighbor may need help carrying their groceries in or a relative may need their lawn mowed. Giving your child opportunities to be kind will show them how nice it feels to be generous without expecting anything in return. Show your child how to open doors for other people and help them gather items to donate to charity. Help your child make dinner for the family or invite their friend over which would allow them to share their toys. This not only teaches them how to be kind, but it also allows them to exercise the skill.
- Praise them
If you witness your child showing kindness, praise them with positive words. This will encourage them to repeat their actions and it will also give them positive feelings. Maybe your child cleared the dinner table or helped carry a double jogging stroller up the stairs. Praise them for their hard work and tell them exactly what they did correctly. If you see that your child missed an opportunity to be kind, tell them how you would prefer that they handle the situation in the future. Positive praise encourages children to repeat their actions. So, always tell them what a good job they are doing when they display kindness.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
Some children may struggle with kindness as it doesn’t always come naturally. Due to their personality, a child may be resistive or stubborn to learning and exercising kindness. In this situation, it is important to keep trying. You may find yourself getting frustrated that they don’t learn this skill naturally. Every child is different so some children may need extra support, encouragement and patience in learning this skill. Continue to show them examples of being kind, teach them empathy, give them opportunities to be kind and praise them when they show kindness. Eventually, kindness will come naturally although they may take longer than other children in learning this skill.
Teaching Children Kindness
Teaching your children kindness will improve their life. They will be more likely to make friends and less likely to make enemies. Parents can help by raising their child to be kind. Implementing kindness may be challenging but the first step is to be kind yourself as this will give them an example to follow when they try to be kind as well. Teach them empathy which will allow them to imagine themselves in different situations. Find real life opportunities for them to be kind such as helping a friend do homework or sharing their toys. Praise your child when they are kind as this will encourage them to repeat the action in the future. If your child struggles to learn this skill, don’t give up. If all children are taught to be kind, the world would be a better place.