Kindness, like so many other good character traits, is something that children have to be taught. Take advantages of opportunities to teach your child to be kind to others both within your own home and in the world outside. Here are some ideas you can use to help your children learn to be kind.
Recognize kindness. I try to point out when one of my children shares or does something helpful for a sibling. The other day Kelsey got her sister’s shoes when we were leaving. I praised Kelsey for being kind and then had Alysta thank her.
Point out kind acts in books or media. When you read about a character being kind or watch a movie where the characters are being kind comment on it. Let your children know that the act was kind and how the receiver of the kindness probably felt.
Be a good example. As a parent you are your child’s greatest teacher. It is your example that they will follow; as your child observes your treatment of others within and outside of your family they will learn to be kind themselves.
Focus on feelings. Help your children understand how others feel is the first step towards kindness. Children need to realize that their actions and words can make another person feel badly. When my children argue I always point out how the disagreement makes both parties feel bad and how much better they feel when they are kind.
Find solutions. There are always going to be disagreements among siblings, but you can teach your children to find solutions without hurting each other’s feelings.
Use examples. When you are out in the world point out examples of kindness. The other day a man held the door open for me as my kids and I walked in. I thanked him and then later commented to my son on how kind the man was and how much I appreciated his act.
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