Acts of kindness -  teach your childern kindness

How to Teach Your Children Kindness 2024

Do kids recognize kindness at an early age? Yes, some do. Just like adults, children need to learn how to be kind and behave kindly toward others. In fact, kindness and generosity are two of the most important qualities a child can develop as they grow. As the adult in their life who models behavior, you can influence children to act on their empathy and show kindness to anyone they meet. We offer six tips for teaching kids to be kind.

Discuss What Kindness Means and Looks Like to Them and to You

Even before your children start to actively demonstrate kindness, they can experience empathy. By reflecting on and discussing those feelings, as a role model you can guide them to the concepts of empathy, generosity, and kindness in a way that will make sense to them. The discussions will be age appropriate, since you know your child best.

These conversations introduce the idea of kindness to young kids. And it can open the conversation for everyone in your family to discuss kindness and how this affects others. Provide your own perspective and allow your children to give their own definition of kindness. Talk about kind behaviors, as well as behaviors that are unkind. Children need to understand the difference. It will be easier for them to recognize both if you discuss them together.

Use Play Pretend, Games, and Stories – Kids Learn Through Play

Children learn through play. While talking can be a productive way to teach kindness to kids, sparking their imagination through games, pretend play and stories can be even better. Try something fun, like having a smiling competition to show them just how contagious a bright smile really is. Teach children about the ripple effect, and how a simple expression of kindness can make a big difference in a person’s life. Remember, we never know what battle or struggle another person may be facing. Showing kindness always eases people’s minds.

Play with your children and introduce situations that make the child consider how others feel or have the potential to feel. Open it up for discussion. You might have a doll fall down and ask the child what they should do to comfort it. You can also pose some hypothetical questions, like how they'd feel about being in a certain situation. Or you can discuss The Golden Rule and how it is important to recognize how you and others want to be treated.

Model Behavior - Be an Example of Kindness

Set an example of kindness for your kids. Kids are incredibly observant, and they learn a lot about how to treat others by watching the adults in their life. Demonstrate kindness when you are out so that they can see how you treat people outside of your family. They will come to understand your example. You should also show kindness toward others when your kids are around so they can watch and mimic you. Remember to be kind to all members in your family, even those with whom you may have a strained relationship. Always remember that their relationship will be separate from yours.

Promote Kindness Through Selfless Habits and Experiences

You can encourage kids to become good at showing kindness by helping instill good habits. These habits include using manners, saying please and thank you, expressing gratitude or compassion, and doing random acts of kindness. Activities like volunteering or participating in community programs will make for a great family bonding experience, as well as a chance to learn about kindness and compassion. Check out our Random Acts of Kindness Decks for more ideas about doing random acts of kindness.

Help Children Understand That Kindness Isn't Always Easy

As adults, we know that sometimes being nice to someone can be hard, especially if that person hasn't been nice to us. However, one of the best lessons you can teach a child is to do the right thing and show kindness, even when they don't necessarily feel like it. Again, make sure to model that behavior, so they can learn by example. What they absorb from watching you will have a big impact on the way they treat others. Learning to treat people fairly and from a perspective of kindness will be a benefit for the rest of their lives.

Focus on How It Feels to Be Kind

Parents can offer stories from their own lives to demonstrate kindness, generosity, and empathy in the real world. Consider telling your kids about times when you experienced kindness from others. Tell them how it felt to you. Or tell them about times when you were kind to someone else. Focus on how good it made you feel to be the giver or recipient of kindness. Explain how you felt from being nice to someone else. 

Or make it a habit to have children reflect after being kind to someone. Ask them to consider the positive feelings they get when they're kind, generous and compassionate. This can help them learn to be kind without needing to be rewarded. They will feel good just about doing it. And they will begin to recognize their own behaviors.

Rubylicious – The Book

Lastly, grab a book like Rubylicious, where two characters, Pinkalicious and Peterrific, must decide what to do when they're granted one wish. In the end they learn how being selfless and kind is the best reward of all. After reading the story, you can talk to your child about what they learned from the tale. Stories like Rubylicious are great conversation starters and fun demonstrations that are easy for kids of all ages to understand.

These are just some of the ways to instill kindness and generosity in children so they can have strong and long-lasting relationships with the people in their lives. And don’t forget to pick up a deck of Random Acts of Kindness Cards and work through them with your child. The prompts are easy and fun, and watching you show kindness and compassion to others will be a great learning tool for your children. And, you'll have fun together in the process!

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