Is kindness really something that you can teach to your kids? Studies have shown that kindness does not only have a positive effect on others but also on yourself. An act of kindness costs very little but it is really worthwhile. You might not even realize in a lifetime that your little deeds will have an impact on one’s life. It’s like a simple gesture to let someone line up ahead of you in the grocery store or to hold the door for someone.
Despite the tough times the entire world is in, I’ve heard tales of sweet, compassionate gestures from relatives, neighbors and strangers. There is no lack of reasons to be sad and depressed nowadays but there are also pockets of hope worth savoring. Look closely, and goodness is spying on every corner of you. We all just need a bit of sunshine around us and to realize that this life is more than just our own personal needs.
Some of our biggest aspirations as parents, is that our children will be kind and good people. We hope they can, because they have an option to support others. We never want to see them mean, intolerant and prejudiced. But let’s just face it. Being good, even for us, isn’t always easy. If we feel like we don’t have the support we need ourselves, helping others can seem hard.
So how do you teach your kids kindness? The good news is that kindness can be learned, it can be conditioned through practice much like every other behaviors. Children do as they see – not as you tell them to do. That means we adults have a powerful ability, and duty, to teach through example.
So, if you want to inspire your kids to be more compassionate, here are some fun things you can do
Be a good role model
If you tell your child to be kind but model negative, unkind actions – your words would have no impact on their behavior. Children do what they see- not what you say. Be a great role model to your kids. Remember, after all, an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Encourage them to give positive compliments
Giving a true compliment is a huge boost to positivity! The act of compliment builds a virtuous circle. By sharing your positivity in the form of a genuine compliment you can make someone’s day. Saying to others that they look good today, or that you like what they drew, will also increase and enhance your own sense of wellbeing.
Be a source of positiveness and joy in people’s lives. Anything that you offer will return to you many times over.
Help your kids understand emotions
Especially for young children, feelings can sometimes be hard to identify. Help your kid by labeling their feelings. Naming feelings is the first step to helping children learn how to identify them. This develop an emotional vocabulary for your child to recognize their own feelings and of the people around them. Support them by having plenty of opportunity to understand other people’s emotions. Cartoons or picture books are a great way to explore the emotions and help kids learn how to grasp other people’s feelings through facial expressions.
When they come to understand their own thoughts and feelings, they find it easier to understand how others feel.
Reflect how their behavior affects others
Having empathy for others means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining how they feel. When your child’s behavior affects people around them – tell them how their actions might have hurt other people’s feelings. Ask them and make them think about how they’d feel if it happened to them.
Practice random acts of kindness
Be a role model for your children and support strangers, friends and relatives. Let them know that helping others feel awesome without expecting anything in return. Give yourself opportunity to support others as a family.
Engage your children in volunteer work and show them that it feels good to help others. Your kids can hold a bake sale for a good cause, or take part in a community clean up day or tutor a younger kids. May be your children are motivated to fund raising for a good cause.
There is not a limit to what your kindness can do.
I’d love to learn, how do you teach your kids kindness. Let me know in the comments.
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