After they master “Dada” and “Mama,” it isn’t long before little ones learn the word “mine.” Though you may love them unconditionally, your kids can be surprisingly selfish and self-indulgent at times, abhorring the thought of sharing toys, eating vegetables, or doing anything that doesn’t immediately benefit them. Unfortunately, if this attitude and behavior persists unimpeded throughout childhood and adolescence, your kids might grow into disconnected, disaffected, dissatisfied adults. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: Kindness. Here a few tips for teaching kids kindness through everyday opportunities and through random acts of kindness for kids.
Simple Tips For Teaching Kids Kindness
It’s easy for kids to learn how to receive kindness; after all, most adults are kind to your children every day. However, it can be a struggle to teach your little ones how to give others kindness. If you want your kids to grow up to be compassionate and generous, you should consider transforming them into kindness machines with the following program.
Use Teachable Moments to Educate About Kindness
Every day, your child can learn a lesson about being kind. Unplanned opportunities for education are often called “teachable moments,” and such instances are exceedingly valuable for imbuing little ones with the desire to be kind. From the time your child is still in diapers, you can use teachable moments in the grocery store or at the park to demonstrate the importance of kindness in a variety of situations.
For example, if the person in front of you in a cashier’s line is struggling to find enough change to pay for baby food, you can pitch in a few dollars. If you notice someone helping an elderly person across the road, you can point it out. Whenever you see or perform an act of kindness, you should explain to your child what happened and why it matters. With enough teachable moments, your child will see kindness as commonplace and act accordingly.
Be a Kindness Role Model
Though watching strangers be kind to one another is important, it is even more vital that you demonstrate kindness for your children. It’s established knowledge that children mimic their parents to learn how to be functioning adults ― which is why kids whose parents smoke are at least twice as likely to pick up the habit. Fortunately, you can use your little ones’ drive to imitate as a force for good. Whenever your child is watching, you should be on your best behavior: saying “please” and “thank you” and being kind to everyone you meet. You might also engage in less-frequent magnanimous behaviors, such as donating your old boat or other items to worthwhile charities or volunteering to support a cause you believe in, to demonstrate that kindness manifests in many ways.
Complete a Kindness Project Together
To keep track of your child’s investment in becoming kind, you might organize a kindness project you can complete together. This project can take any shape, but it is important that you work with your kid to determine your goals and steps. Initially, you and your child should do some brainstorming regarding what kindnesses you want to accomplish: feeding or warming the homeless, visiting the old or sick, or helping your community in some other way. Then, you can help your child research related charities or find other ways to realize the kindness you envision.
You may also want want to discuss random acts of kindness for kids and what types of activities are appropriate to qualify for that. Throughout the project, you should encourage your little one to write a daily journal entry explaining what he or she did that day to be kind. Ideally, the entry will be related to achieving your kindness goals, but even small behaviors like “washing the dishes for mom” or “lending my friend a pencil in class” should bring some satisfaction.
Converse About Kindness
Language has power ― specifically if you use it to communicate clearly and kindly. Regularly, you should gather your loved ones together to discuss the ways you have been kind to others. If you are encouraging your kid to complete a kindness project, he or she might read aloud some particularly poignant entries. The goal of this gathering is to reinforce the importance of kindness and praise those who strive to commit acts of kindness frequently.
In your conversations about kindness, you shouldn’t neglect discussing acts of self-kindness. Loving others begins with loving yourself; if you don’t know how to give your body and mind the positivity it needs, you likely won’t be able to help others to your full capacity. Though you don’t want to nurture a self-centered child, it is important for you to teach the importance of self-respect.
I hope you find these tips useful for teaching kids kindness. Equipped with such a strong foundation in compassion, your kid will grow to be the kindest person you know. What works for you when teaching kids kindness?