What better could we, or should we, teach our children? The future holds endless possibilities for our next generation, but the one thing that will matter the most to each one is ‘Kindness’- Anonymous
WHY KINDNESS MATTERS
Have you ever wondered why kindness is so important? Has there ever been a time where you thought, “Why does it matter that I be kind to someone else?” Let’s take a look at some simple yet profound reasons why kindness is as important as it is and may this empower and inspire each one to teach their child kindness.
- Life is hard enough as it is, so we should make it easier on one another by being kind. And in our kindness, we can inspire kindness in others, making life just a little better, one smile and hug at a time.
- Kindness is filled with hope; that’s exactly what kindness is. Kindness is the light that keeps our inner fires burning. Kindness is that spirit and that faith that tell us to keep holding on and to continue enduring through our present life situation.
- We are made for connection and community. We are crafted for compassion and, yes, we are wired for kindness.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE KINDNESS IN CHILDREN
With their increasing awareness and independence, pre-schoolers are ready to participate, if you show them how. Mostly, I’m a firm believer that the best way to teach kindness to kids is to model the behaviour yourself. They will learn by watching you be kind to friends, family and strangers. Children must have the insight to see how powerful their words are and how they can change someone’s life with just a simple act of kindness. Good Habits like these can help form character.
Make helping a family affair
When a friend gets sick or a close family falls on hard times, grown-ups know what to do. They send flowers, share food, and maybe help with money. Get your kids involved in these projects. Ask them what they’d like to do to help out, help you with cooking something special, and go to the florist to choose the flowers or decorate the envelope in which you plan to share the money. And when you drive over to deliver the gifts, take your kids along. They’ll find out first-hand how good it feels to brighten someone’s day.
Share the wealth
Teach your kids to see the abundance all around them and to think of people to share it with. When your fruit or flower tree explodes in bloom, invite your child to snip a few buds or pluck some fruit and take them to her school and share with the support staff. Is his shelf overflowing with books or toys? Suggest he donate a box to the local orphanage. Package up leftover party cake and snacks, and take them to an elderly neighbour.
Even if something drops by mistake, make a point to pick it up. And if you see an old newspaper or a used coffee cup left on the road, throw it away. It feels good to take care of a mess you didn’t make and weren’t “supposed” to clean up.
How’s this for an extra dose of doing good? Have your child collect and take old newspapers to the recycling vendor that pays you for what you bring in, then drop the money you make into the donation jar at the supermarket checkout.
Kids should understand that a certain amount of helping is requested and required “just because”: just because they’re members of the family, just because they live under the same roof, and just because it’s the right thing to do. So show them how to water the plants, how to clear the dinner table and make their beds. And keep a chore chart to track and reward the completion of their tasks. Your kids will feel great pride in doing their share.
Don’t criticize their efforts
Yes, you can get the work done faster, better, and in a more organized manner but if you keep criticising their efforts, it leaves your little helpers feeling inept, unskilled—and less likely to offer their services again. If you’re impatient, you can turn a teachable moment into a missed opportunity. Kids want to help cook dinner, wash the car, and do the dishes, and, sure, they’ll do it slowly and imperfectly at first, you’re teaching them that they can make a difference at home. Just imagine how good they’ll feel when they step out into the world.
When your child is a guest at a playdate, make sure she helps clean up before she gets back home. If the host insists it’s not necessary, say, “Let us pick up three things and then we’ll be on our way. When you are the host make sure your child’s friends pitch in and clean up before they leave.
Perform small acts of kindness
Whether your child is watching or not, let it become a habit to do small deeds in your daily routines. Offer a fellow grocery shopper help to the car with her bags. Let someone with less stuff go ahead of you in line at the supermarket. If your driver or maid has been gone for a few days, first ask him/her how they are feeling when he/she returns. Is a friend sad? Give her a hug. Teaching your kids to notice what’s going on in the lives of people in their own neighbourhood fosters empathy and can inspire them to become keen helpers.
Say ‘good morning ‘to the security, driver or maid- the people you meet on the way to the bus stop or to your car. ‘Thank –you’ to the pizza delivery guy or the ironing man. Use the word ‘Please’ and ‘Sorry’ as often as you can, no matter where you are at home or outside- Sometimes a simple acknowledgment or expression of appreciation is all the boost someone needs to get through the day.
Be kind to animals
Feed a stray dog or cat, keep a bowl of water out especially on hot days, the birds will enjoy a sip or two when they need it most. Teach children not to throw stones at or frighten little kittens or puppies. Compassion towards animals builds compassion towards human beings. If your child is good to beings who can’t speak or express themselves that we can only imagine how good he/she will be to human beings.
Children have an inborn capacity for compassion and care. Temperament of course plays a role—some kids are naturally more tuned in to other people’s feelings and difficulties, while others are a bit oblivious. Either way, you have influence in fostering your child’s ability to empathize. These simple ideas teach your children to be nice, generous people, one good deed at a time.