Besides raising a responsible and successful child, one of the most important goals parents have is to raise good and kind children. When kids learn to be kind, it is easier for them to establish friendships and get along with other people, which is important for healthy development and happiness. Today, when it’s easy to judge and be unkind, it’s even more important that parents guide and help their young kids to learn about kindness. Check out this list of tips on how to teach kindness to kids.
Teach them empathy
It’s important for children to learn how to put themselves in other people’s shoes, as this is where kindness and empathy begin . Engage them in conversations where they are encouraged to think about how other people will feel in various scenarios . Ask them questions like, ”How would you feel if someone took away your favorite toy?”, or ”How would you feel if someone said something bad about you or if someone makes fun of you?” Remember that teaching about empathy is a way to teach kindness to kids.
Encourage them to speak kindly
There are several different ways to show kindness to others. It doesn’t have to be through grand gestures. It can be done in simple ways such as sharing kind thoughts and wishing others well. Teach your little one how it’s done by setting an example. Let them hear you tell someone, “ Have a great day!” or “I hope you enjoy your day today”. Practicing this will help your child get into the habit of speaking kindly more often.
Teach them to try to only say positive things
It isn’t always easy to think first before speaking, especially when our emotions are high. However, it’s important that young kids learn the habit of saying only positive things at an early age. If your child has trouble finding something positive to say,, tell him/her it’s better to say nothing at all. Let your child practice “holding their tongue” even when they have a negative opinion about something or someone.
Also, it’s also a good idea if they learn how to focus more on the positive than the negative. For example, if a peer asks if they like their artwork and they don’t, instead of bluntly telling their friend how they hated the colors, they can find something nice about the masterpiece and share some positive feedback instead. For example, they can say, “I like the way you draw the animals”. Let them practice finding the good in things. Not only is this a good way to show kindness, but it also helps change their perspective about things.
Practice giving compliments to people
No matter how small, it always feels good to receive a compliment. Encourage your child to practice the act of noticing something good about someone and verbalizing it. Let your child understand why this is important and how complimenting people can go a long way, especially in making them feel better.
Be a role model
Parents are the most influential people in a child’s life. Remember that, as parents, your actions make more impact than your words. Therefore, show them what being kind means through your actions and the way you treat people around you. It’s impossible to instill kindness in children when parents display rude and unethical behavior. Model for your child how you treat others with kindness and respect, even toward people you may not know, like restaurant staff, the salesperson at the mall or the worker who picks up the garbage around the neighborhood. By setting a good example, you are exhibiting the kind of behavior you want to see in your little one.
Use kindness, even in discipline
It’s easy for parents to lose patience and get angry when they’re tired after a long day at work and they come home to find their kids are misbehaving. However, how you respond and discipline your child significantly impacts their behavior. Be sure to infuse kindness even when instilling discipline in your little one. Avoid yelling and raising your voice. Use positive and encouraging words and discipline with love.
Being kind to others doesn’t only help us create bonds and friendships; it also makes us feel good deep within. Let your child be someone who sprinkles kindness in a world that needs it most.